On Sunday, Boston was hit with its third snowstorm in two weeks, which resulted in a city wide shutdown for the fourth time. Many of these closures continued into Tuesday. Harvard University, Boston University, Northeastern University, and Emerson College all canceled class for the day. Boston College’s decision to hold class drew criticism from some in the student body, especially in light of the fact that Governor Charlie Baker had declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shortly before the University announced it would reopen. Like BC, Bentley University and Brandeis University had delayed starts this Tuesday. BC opened at 10:30 a.m., Bentley 10 a.m., and Brandeis 11 a.m.
Given the condition of roads and sidewalks around campus, BC made the proper decision reopening Tuesday. By the time students embarked for class around 10 a.m., the majority of the sidewalks and roads on campus had been cleared and salted. This can be attributed to the exceptional work of the BC Facilities staff, who have continued to work throughout the snowstorms to make campus safe and clear for classes to resume. Many professors and dining employees said that their commute was easier than normal because the main roads were clear, and there were not very many other cars on the commute.
With BC in the suburbs, there are some students and professors who take the T to campus, but not as many utilize public transportation as do at a school in the city, such as BU or Northeastern. The state of emergency spurred by the MBTA closure, therefore, had less of an effect on BC. Eighty-five percent of BC students live on campus, and the majority of remaining students live very close to Main Campus—all shuttle buses were running yesterday, so most students who live off campus should have had no trouble commuting to class. Though transportation for professors and students is a genuine concern, during an event such as Tuesday’s—when transportation was not prohibitively difficult—commuting difficulties did not escalate to the point where class would have to needlessly be canceled. The MBTA closure had a larger effect on schools within the city of Boston than it did on schools in Boston-area suburbs.
Individual professors had the ability to cancel class at their own discretion if they felt that conditions were too unsafe to get to campus. But overall, the conditions in and around campus meant that there were no safety problems in holding class, despite the furor surrounding campus when the University made its announcement.
The University has had four full snow days and one snow delay so far this school year. It has been a historic winter, but at a certain point, it becomes impractical to allow the weather to completely disrupt the academic schedule. There has been 79 inches of snow this winter—a colossal, nearly unprecedented amount. With that in mind, the safety of students should always be considered, but safety concerns Tuesday did not escalate to a point where class cancellation was necessary.
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor