What does it take?

It seems it took a state of emergency for GW to finally realize that classes should be canceled on days that we have inclement weather. Most of us will probably have forgotten last week’s 3-5 inch snowfall by now, but I still remember thinking about whether the unknown road conditions were worth braving in order to get to my classes on time. I patiently watched the news that morning, hoping for a reprieve from a hazardous commute, but GW decided, for some unknown reasons, that it would buck the trend of almost every school and government office in the area and remain open for classes. Why?

At first glance, this might seem reasonable, given that most of the students at GW live in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and do not need to commute to school. I seemingly speak for a small minority of commuter students (I live in Fairfax, Va.) that had to travel to school in spite of the bad weather. However, there are many others who were affected by GW’s insistence on remaining open. I would wager that most professors at this school, along with most of the support staff (housekeeping, dining services, University Police, etc.) do not live on campus and therefore do not commute as much as I do. It is nothing short of arrogant that the University overlooked the safety of these significant portions of the GW family simply to remain open for one day. Please take back the millennium convocation holiday and give me a snow day instead. Otherwise GW might find itself canceling classes to mourn a tragedy rather than to celebrate (and respect) the power of Mother Nature.

I’m glad that Tuesday GW came to its senses and canceled classes, but I hope that next time I don’t have to wait for a near-blizzard to learn that GW, in fact, does care somewhat about the safety of its students and employees. It is only through continual and uniform enforcement of the snow-day policy, or any other policy, that GW will be able to strengthen rather than damage the relationships it has with its family.

-Paul Smalera

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