Last week, FSU students – who hail from all over Massachusetts, the rest of New England, and across the nation – came back from Thanksgiving break to find their Monday schedules were delayed for only one hour in response to detrimental snow conditions and subsequently poor roads.
While other universities, such as UMass Lowell, announced their decisions to close on Monday and did so ahead of time the previous Sunday evening, FSU hesitated to give its students, faculty, and staff the final verdict.
The community received the official notice around 6 a.m. that very day, which does not give students who take 8:30 a.m. courses – much less the professors who teach them – enough time to plan.
Additionally, Monday afternoon labs and evening classes were canceled during the middle of the day, for some inexplicable reason.
That night, the FSU community suffered whiplash as it was told at 9 p.m. the following school day would start at 12:30 p.m. – only to receive another notice around 1 p.m. on Tuesday that nonchalantly contradicted their original notice, ultimately canceling all classes before 4:30 p.m.
Cue our collective confusion and annoyance at the University giving us more mixed signals than a Tinder match that gives us stilted, bare-minimum conversation one day and aggressively texts us the next.
We’d like to be frank: what on Earth was the University administration thinking?
Was there someone who stood outside with a ruler measuring the snow to determine whether it was an appropriate amount for students to trudge through? Or perhaps someone spinning around to act as a human barometer to test just how strong the winds were?
This administration made clear mistakes – ones that inconvenienced, and even endangered the community it serves.
Students and other members of the FSU community do not have the luxury of dawdling and waiting around only to be plagued with regret and second thoughts the way the administration seemed to be able to do.
If this is a glimpse into how we as students will be given notices about inclement weather in the upcoming spring semester, it is a worrisome one.
We’re bound to see increased delays and closures in response to even worse nor’easters and road conditions. It is all the more imperative for the FSU community to be given more practical, precise, and timely notices regarding inclement weather.
Additionally, the majority of the FSU community lives off campus. They desperately depend on prompt, clear, and consistent decisions in order to plan their commutes.
And regardless of where they reside – whether it be five minutes away or 50 – students, faculty, and staff alike may not have the luxury of waiting until the very last minute to decide what to do.
It’s beyond annoying and frustrating to commute to campus only for the student to find class has been canceled at the last minute by the University, or for the professor to find seven of 20 students have shown up for the day.
It’s not fair to any of us to keep holding out for several extra hours to confirm the chance classes could possibly happen. If higher-ups were perhaps trying to save face by preserving as much class time as possible so as not to resort to a cancellation, last week was not the time.
A confirmed snow day is not an inherent sign of slacking off on the part of the University – as a matter of fact, the flip-flop between official times of delay gives a worse impression to the greater Framingham community and the rest of the state than just outright canceling for both days.
The snow days would have allowed everyone to catch up on work or rest even a little, which is especially needed during this extremely busy time of year – thereby allowing students to perform better academically.
A snow day is not just a waste of time – and they keep students safe.
While public schools in the area and nearby universities gave clear indications by canceling that they prioritize their employees’ and students’ safety above losing a day or two of work or school, respectively, members of the FSU community who have to drive to campus might have interpreted the University’s hesitation to mean it was OK if our tires slid around a little – as long as we made it to our 12:30s.
Going forward, we call upon University administration to be as clear in their instructions as the ice we slipped on last Tuesday.