Opinions & Editorials

Winter Weather

Both the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public Schools closed their doors on account of cold weather Jan. 27 and 28. Temperatures dropped below zero, notwithstanding wind chill. Xavier stayed open with only minor delays on Jan. 23 and Jan. 28.

The decision for calling a snow day is a joint process involving Provost Scott Chadwick, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Beth Amyot, Physical Plant and Xavier University Police Department. The decision involves safety conditions on campus and in Greater Cincinnati.

At temperatures recorded this week — zero degrees Fahrenheit and below — and a mild wind — above ten miles per hour — it would only take 30 minutes to get frostbite. It does not take much longer to experience the beginning stages of hypothermia. The University’s decision to remain open in such hostile weather is inconsiderate at best and dangerous at worst. It ignores the problems that this weather poses for a good portion of students, staff and employees.

According to our provost, the only students truly affected by the cold are those who remain in a single building for the entire school day, those in grades K-12, and apparently, are the only students who do any “walking and standing” during the school day. By any standard, university students walk and stand outside more than elementary school children each day.

One of the principal concerns in this weather is the effect on these student commuters, both those who live off campus in the three surrounding neighborhoods as well as those who live in Greater Cincinnati and drive to campus daily.

Considering that many students can easily walk up to 30 minutes from houses in Norwood, the cold is a pressing concern, especially with the slick sidewalks. The cold can affect drivers too: in addition to some cars being hard to start this time of year, other drivers on Cincinnati roads can be a hazard whether there is precipitation or not.

Similar concerns apply to staff who have to commute and Physical Plant employees who have to come in at 3 a.m. to ensure that campus is safe enough for students to be out and about. This no-win situation only really benefits the school calendar, preventing the loss of too many instruction hours.

Perhaps administrators only find “great concern” when the wind chill is “getting down to around 20 below,” but as students who frequent the sidewalk several times throughout the average weekday, we’d ask those administrators to take a 30-minute walk to work in a student’s shoes before refusing to call another snow day