Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Safety priorities

A response from Chancellor Holub regarding the university opening tomorrow…

“Thank you for writing. The campus, as you know, is fully functional. We are obliged to provide education for our students. Power is coming back in surrounding communities, and students off campus can come and shower in the rec center, charge phones and computers in the library or the campus center, and eat meals in the dining commons. The major roads are all cleared, and the campus is in good shape.

We have a team of highly trained professionals making recommendations on opening and closing of the campus. They recommended unanimously that we open tomorrow. I trust their judgment.

UMass students are resourceful, and although it will be a tough week for some students, as well as some faculty and staff members, they will all survive. The worst of the storm is over; it’s time to get back to normal activities.

I appreciate your concerns and your writing. Good luck this term with your studies.”

As the Chancellor stated, yes, we “will all survive.” But it seems to me that that’s not the point.

It’s really easy to not die in this century even amidst power outages and fallen trees. However, it’s the middle of the semester, and students are either playing catch-up or steadily trying to continue working as class assignments become more difficult. Currently, students, staff, faculty and their families are in a state of emergency in the Pioneer Valley. So, it seems ridiculous that after rolling the trees off their cars, students should have to think about doing their homework.

This e-mail seems to prioritize students’ educational endeavors over obligations to their families and efforts to gain access to necessities like hot water, food and warm shelter. It’s great that the University is offering all of this, but after the treacherous drive to campus, these students shouldn’t have to worry about classes, or even feel obligated to make that journey. If the University wants to support its students, don’t put them in that position.

What this all suggests is that maybe, considering the conundrum last winter’s wrath proved to be for your board of trusted advisors, you should seek new counsel. After all, how can any of us forget those “snow days” where your professional counsel decided to open the university during near white-outs only to change suit halfway through the morning thereby exposing the entire University to not one, but two dangerous commutes.

Also, it wouldn’t hurt to pick people who can make a decision sooner than 5 p.m. the day before a cancelation, especially in the face of such massive power outages. Some students were only able to access the Internet during daylight hours when road conditions were safer.

Please keep in mind that not all of us have the luxury of living in a state funded home on a campus supplied by its very own power plant – but we will, after all, survive.

Max Calloway is the Ed/Op Editor. He can be reached at [email protected]. Alyssa Creamer is the Editor in Chief. She can be reached at [email protected].

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  • R

    Ryan DillonNov 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Could not agree more with this response..short and sweet but says all the right things. Saftey should be the number one concern Chancellor Holub, not providing classes that half the student aren’t even able to attend, leaving the teacher no choice but to cancel anyways. This is going to be a long winter under the the wicked witch of narnia’s control.

  • J

    Jarred RoseNov 1, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Creamer hits the nail on the head again. Exactly right.