- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 11 February 2015
The start of the semester comes hand-in-hand with the brunt of winter. After a month home, students return from winter break with a fresh semester to look forward to; but there is one problem – treacherous weather conditions are at their peak when students return to Monmouth.
Last year’s spring semester started off quite similarly to this year’s. Snow hit the ground right away the second week back, leaving cancellations late Monday into Tuesday. Last week’s second snowstorm brought cancellations for late Monday classes yet again. Especially in comparison to last year, The Outlook feels the University has been proactive by making early calls for cancellations to be in the best interest of safe traveling for students and faculty.
Since the weather is changeable, one editor pointed out the reason for Monmouth to consider snow cancellations: “NJ is known for being a flat state and our school’s location is right on the shore so many people have shore cars like mustangs, PT cruisers, and VW bugs. MU has to take in the fact that we are not equipped for rough weather into consideration and also, that a lot of people will be driving over 15 minutes to school which may cause accidents during a snow fall.”
While meteorologists try their best to predict large snowstorms ahead of time, the exact weather patterns will usually remain rather uncertain. For example, the blizzard predicted the final week of January did not hit as hard as expected in many areas. “With the blizzard, the University decided to cancel before the storm arrived. This was a smart decision because it allowed students to make appropriate arrangements and for professors to adjust their classes accordingly,” another editor said.
If the University did not call off classes so far in advance, complaints would have certainly been made. All of the editors recall last spring semester’s snow when an 8:30 am class was only notified 15 minutes before class that the University would close.
“I remember last year the cancellations were not soon enough. I was about to go to my rock n’ roll class and the snow and ice were so bad that my car was sliding and I could not make it. My dad had to come to pick me up,” an editor recalled.
This instance from the previous year was certainly considered unacceptable by many of those commuting from a far distance – but students are aware that it weather can be both a predictable and unpredictable element, so it can be difficult for the University to justly make an appropriate call.
As one editor pointed out, “It’s a hard call because sometimes the weather changes at the last minute, but I feel like students should be notified at least an hour before their class was supposed to take place to account for commute.”
Since Monmouth is such a commuter-based school, putting safety first can be seen as worth a few class cancellations. Even if snowfall totals are not drastic inches-wise, the problem can come after the snow. Flash freezing is a weather phenomenon where previous slush and rain will freeze over when temperatures drop, according to an article published in Fox News on Feb. 3, 2015. This makes for icy roads and an awfully dangerous commute.
According to one editor, “If the roads are in a condition that you have to drive 2 - 5 mph in order to avoid swerving on a huge patch of ice, then I think that is when the University should cancel classes. They didn’t necessarily do that in the past, but this year, they have been pretty spot-on and it’s truly appreciated.”
As we learned on Groundhog’s Day, we can expect another six weeks of winter. If heavy snowfall is in the future, The Outlook can count on the University to make closing decisions in the best interest of the safety of the commuter.