Early last week, the FSU community was awaiting the looming approach of yet another serious snowstorm that was forecast to arrive Thursday, Feb. 13.
The weather, as predicted, started mid-morning that day and grew worse as time passed. And, as we all know, FSU didn’t close until the height of the storm.
We at The Gatepost understand the apprehension behind a pre-emptive strike to close school the night before. However, what we do not understand is why Framingham State all of a sudden decided to adopt the U.S. Postal Service’s motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat […]” will keep us from going to class.
Even as other area schools were closing, FSU remained open. Students who spoke with The Gatepost said many of their professors were cancelling classes before the school made the official call to close at 12:30 p.m.
Schools in the surrounding area, such as Worcester State University, Fitchburg State University and MassBay Community College, all closed the night before the storm arrived Thursday.
According to Framingham State’s Director of Communications Dan Magazu, FSU’s “senior leadership,” Interim President Robert Martin and Executive Vice President Dale Hamel, make the official decision whether to close the school.
He said Martin and Hamel also coordinate with the Facilities Department and in certain situations, with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the governor’s office.
Did the administration forget that FSU’s population is 48 percent – almost half – commuter students? This percentage also does not account for the number of faculty and staff who drive to campus each day.
It was made clear that this storm was going to be hazardous no matter what time it was expected to arrive, and that the Framingham area was to be hit with more than a dusting of snow.
What we at The Gatepost find even more unnerving is that the school cancelled services such as the shuttle and put limitations on parking before school was cancelled. Why is it that the roads were not safe for shuttle travel but safe for students’ cars?
In an email, Martin said, “I can assure you that we don’t make our decisions about whether to close without thinking very, very hard about those people who have to commute.”
While we appreciate that our administration cares for students’ safety, sending commuters home into whiteout conditions didn’t exactly send that message.
We at The Gatepost believe the administration can act with more mindfulness about their students, faculty and staff’s safety on the roads during inclement weather.
There is no reason the administrators cannot act more deftly in emergencies. Education is important, but not as important as the community’s safety. When so many other institutions of learning are cancelling in our area, the administration needs to take note and do the same.