"In place of cancelation, communication from UB should be no-brainer"

UB refuses to shut down during severe weather, but for the sake of student safety, they should at least send some emails

It’s a problem The Spectrum has discussed time and time again – an issue which students bemoan and commuters fear: UB’s refusal to accommodate its students during inclement weather, or even recognize the challenges being faced by the community.

During November’s snowstorm, UB drew enough ire from the public and the media that the administration caved in, canceling classes after refusing to do so during the initial days of the storm.

Monday’s snow event certainly wasn’t as dramatic as November’s blizzard. And as a result, UB displayed no inclination to acknowledge – aside from deploying two additional Stampede buses into circulation – that a foot of snow and sub-zero temperatures tend to make travel more difficult and dangerous than usual.

Even though roofs weren’t collapsing, plenty of dangerous situations emerged as a result of the snow.

Students living near South Campus, who rely on the Stampede to commute to their classes, were forced to wait in freezing temperatures as the lines at bus stations swelled to 50-plus students – far more than a single bus’s capacity.

Buses were severely delayed by the weather, as conditions on the roadways made typical travel impossible.

UB was aware of the problem. They sent emails to professors as a reminder to be lenient with students arriving late.

Although such a message demonstrates a bare-minimum level of decency on UB’s part, it more problematically illustrates the lack of communication between UB and its students – because the school was aware of the delayed buses, why was no text message alert sent to students to notify them of the problem? UB just posted about the alerts on its website.

If UB doesn’t feel it’s worthwhile to cancel classes even when a large portion of its student population can’t get to their lectures in time, then they should have the decency to share information with students in a more efficent matter.

UB knew its commuting students would be waiting at bus stops for unusually extended periods of time in a freezing environment, made all the more hostile by frigid winds and blowing snow.

Sidewalks were unplowed, streets were slippery and the 10-minute walk from Main Street to South Campus took at least twice as long, requiring students to trek through waist-high snowdrifts and across streets packed with sliding, drifting cars.

That experience was one UB decided its students could handle.

That decision in and of itself is questionable, but once UB made that choice, they should have at least informed its students of the delay, giving students the chance to decide for themselves if they wanted to risk commuting to class, and allowing those who did choose to do so to dress even more warmly than usual.

If UB wants to risk its students’ safety, then they should at least take the time to send an email.

It’s understandable – though debatable – that UB can’t shut its doors every time there’s a snowstorm. This is Buffalo, after all, and there are many on-campus students who can get to class without trouble.

But UB must recognize that when they don’t cancel class, some students will be put in danger. The school must be willing to recognize the difficulties of off-campus students and take the time to communicate with them.

email: editorial@ubspectrum.com