Snow day: Students refuse to ‘Let It Go’

By Editorial Board

The college’s decision to keep the campus open Feb. 2 in the wake of the fifth-heaviest snowstorm in Chicago’s recorded history was met with the usual vitriol seen when students are forced to go through a day-to-day routine that is only somewhat inconvenienced by Mother Nature. 

With more than 19 inches of snowfall recorded at O’Hare International Airport-—and some parts of the city seeing up to 22 inches— many students and faculty thought it was necessary to call a snow day. However, the Alert Now or Send Word Now message that went out on Feb. 1 produced no such outcome. Columbia opted to cancel all classes beginning before 10 a.m. on Feb. 2 instead of calling a snow day, as neighboring college DePaul University did.

Many factors go into making the decision on whether or not to close the campus due to inclement weather. Unfortunately for students and staff, what they want is not one of those factors. The inconvenience of waking up early to account for delays in traffic and public transit is annoying, as is the prospect of trudging through un-shoveled snow, but that’s life, especially for those training to become adult professionals. 

It is upon students to take responsibility for themselves. College is a time to create routine and learn how to manage the obligations and responsibilities that come along with adulthood. It is not the time to whine and complain about having to make a little more effort than usual to go into the Loop for expensive, prepaid classes.

This is not to say the administration is always right when it comes to making the call on whether classes should be canceled. The administration has definitely slipped up before, like last year when classes were still held as temperatures outside dropped well below zero. It is imperative that when there is a recognized threat—such as last year’s polar vortex—to the safety and well-being of students that the administration take the necessary measures to keep the student body safe. 

Winter storm Linus, which was classified as a blizzard later in the evening on Feb. 1 due to extreme whiteout conditions, did not measure up to the dangers of last winter’s subzero temperatures. Had conditions worsened, the college’s administration may have called a snow day, but as the snow petered off into the early morning of Feb. 2, it was clear that while many Chicago residents were up to their knees in snow, it was not insurmountable, nor a serious risk to students and faculty commuting into the city. 

Nevertheless, Columbia’s campus being centrally located in Chicago’s South Loop is a curse and a blessing. Although the campus is spread out across many city blocks, making it difficult to trek through 19 inches of snow, it also sits on many major city streets and intersections, making it a top priority for shoveling and plowing routes. 

Of course, any sort of nasty weather—be it insufferable heat or torrential downpour—can cause frustration among students and faculty, but when weather is nothing more than an aggravation, as Feb. 2’s proved to be, it is on each individual to buck up and show up. It is about making the decision to hold oneself accountable for being present and making the most of it because, if anything, college is still optional, but future job and career obligations are not. So consider this practice for the real world, when inclement weather is the least of everyone’s concerns and snow days are a thing of the past.