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Snow Dazed: Considering The Consequences Of Winter Closings

At least for the moment, the Boston College campus erupted in a cheer louder than a sieve chant at a BC-BU hockey game.

On the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 27, all 12 of us were huddled together in a Walsh eight-man—patiently awaiting an announcement of a second snow day—when suddenly we received the text message from BC’s notification system that school would be cancelled the following day.

From Walsh to Stayer and across the Mods, hundreds of students opened their bedroom windows and shouted cries of joy that reverberated across Lower Campus. Dozens ran through the Mods, leaping into snow banks and screaming that there would be no classes for a second day in a row. BC was a community—one full of excitement that class would be cancelled once again.

Much more recently, however, there was a strikingly different reaction to the news of a possible snow day. On Feb. 9, the University announced that it would open after a brief delay the following day—even after Harvard, MIT, BU, and Northeastern had already cancelled classes. A social media uproar ensued. A heated “Letter to the Editor” to The Heights went viral. Many students took to Facebook and Twitter to voice malicious comments at the University’s decision. What was surprising about the situation was the fact that so many students expected school to be cancelled, and when it was not, they were furious—furious at the University’s decision to keep BC open.

As a Minnesotan, I basically live with snow nine months out of the year. Sightings of the pesky white beast have been reported as late as June, and as early as August where I’m from. The snow and I have a type of relationship that many of the Floridians and Californians at BC simply can’t understand. In many ways, snow has become like a crazy ex-girlfriend to me. It’s something I know all too well, but just never seems to go away. It’s always there. But what I’ve seen this semester in Boston takes crazy to a whole new level. The unprecedented snowfall has in many ways resembled the historic blizzard of ’78—shutting down the MBTA, cancelling schools, and preventing people from going to work. We have become so accustomed to the effects of Juno, Linus, and Marcus, that the threat of an additional snowstorm prompts us to expect school to be cancelled on a consistent basis.

The situation has escalated to the point where a New York Jesuit priest posted a message to Facebook on Monday, declaring “enough with the snow already.” Ironically enough, Governor Baker’s first opponent in his new term has been the snow. Baker has been forced call in the National Guard to help with snow removal, and excess snow is now piling up so quickly that the city is dumping it in the Boston Harbor. At what point will it stop?

At first, the snow days seemed like a welcome break for us all. Now, the idea is just ridiculous. BC has been closed for four days in January and February alone. BU, Northeastern, Tufts, Harvard, and MIT have all similarly closed their doors, prompting an unprecedented number of cancellations across Boston. Boston Public School (BPS) students have already missed a total of eight days of school this year.

Schools are now scrambling to figure out how the hell they can make up missed class time. BPS requires students to be in class for 180 days each school year, and educators aren’t budging. Now, Baker has floated the idea of eliminating part of the system’s April vacation, as well as extending classes until the end of June.

BC is in a slightly different situation. Currently, it is not clear whether the University will tack on additional days to the academic calendar or take away scheduled holidays but it is a very real possibility. BU announced that it will hold classes on two Saturdays over the next six weeks to make up for lost class time. Northeastern boldly plans to hold class on Marathon Monday.

It’s blatantly clear that we are all tired of the snow. It has gotten to the point where any additional snow—or another day off—is just absurd. But if BC is forced to shut down for any additional winter storms in the coming weeks, we may be the next school to take away a coveted holiday or tradition. I shudder to think of what would happen if BC decided to hold classes on Marathon Monday. A campus-wide riot? Father Leahy being chased across campus by a group of angry protesters?

Regardless, it’s time for Boston to break up with snow for the rest of winter. We know it will always be lurking in the background, ready to jump on the city at any moment. But this time it has gone too far—and now we need to get back to class.

Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Graphic

February 19, 2015

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Snow Dazed: Considering The Consequences Of Winter Closings”

  1. I’m from Florida and I love the snow. It is amazing that it
    snowed so much this year here in Boston. While I love it, it is annoying that
    we have missed so many classes. My professors are rushing through lectures to
    try and make up lost time. None of mine have scheduled make up classes yet but
    many of my friends have had to attend lectures in the late evening to make up
    for the lost time. At first, the snow days were great! We went sledding, had
    snow ball fights, built snowmen and generally had fun. The second day cancelled
    was great too. We got to sleep in and had even more time to do our homework
    from the week before. Classes resumed but then we had another snow day the next
    Monday and another the following one. At that point, I was not happy to stay
    inside. I wanted to be out and about, to have a routine. I was annoyed when BC
    decided to have classes even though the MBTA was still down and other
    universities were closed. And, when BC decided to move Monday classes to Thursday
    I was even more annoyed because it was a lot of work crammed into three days in
    a row. Ultimately, though, it was a good decision. I do not want to have
    shortened holidays or have classes extended into the summer. I understand the
    need to make up the missed classes but I’d rather have Saturday class than a
    shorter break or a longer semester. I hope BC decides not to do either of the