With this past Monday and Tuesday’s frigid temperatures that dropped below -15 Celsius, many Laurier Brantford students were expecting the campus to be closed. However, regardless of weather conditions, the campus chose to run classes and remain open. “I feel that it was somewhat irresponsible on Laurier’s part to disregard student safety,” said fourth-year student, Shai Goldstein, who believes the university put students in a dangerous situation by keeping the campus open.
Goldstein, who walks to class, explained the feeling among students about getting to class in such harsh weather, “Well, it is a given that those walking to class might have to face some cold temperatures, but the temperature along with harsh winds made even a 5 minute walk harsh. For those walking far distances, I imagine getting to class was somewhat dangerous.” He added, “By the time my roommate and I made it to class, we had each slipped on ice several times, helped stuck cars on Darling Street and both of our faces had gone partially numb from the wind.”
Those who had to drive to get to class shared similar sentiments. Katie Sroka, also a fourth-year student at the university, had to make the drive to the downtown, and experienced problems trying to get her vehicle ready to make the trip, in addition to the fact that the roads were not well maintained around the campus. Parking, according to Sroka, was also a difficult task, since the spots were also not plowed. She humorously remarked, “I made my own parking spot.”
She also felt that the classrooms themselves, upon arrival, were not properly heated. “Everyone in class in all three of my classes was wearing his/her winter coats. I believe if the buildings couldn’t be warmed, then why have classes running?” commented Sroka.
Similarly to Sroka, Kirby Kennedy, another fourth-year student, although not necessarily upset, described her drive to campus as a “hassle” and felt that the effort to get to campus was not worth the material covered in the first lecture, which is usually just an explanation of course content through the syllabus.
“They need to consider whether it is important that we are safe and warm or learning what’s on the syllabus,” said Kennedy of the university’s choice between staying open or closing.
The university responded to student complaints, stating that it must follow the Severe Weather & Storm Closing policy, but it also considers “weather reports, road conditions, public transit operations, other institutions, etc.”
A statement was made about Tuesday’s conditions in determining why the school chose to remain open for operation, “In today’s case, although it is extremely cold, there was no significant snowfall in the vicinity of our campuses, most major roads and the sidewalks along them were clear, public transit was running, and Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo and the University of Guelph (along with municipal governments and most businesses) are open.”
Laurier also encouraged students and professors, whose trips to campus could put them in dangerous situations, to make alternate arrangements.
With the weather forecast showing warmer days ahead, according to the Weather Network, Laurier’s campus is expected to continue to remain open.