Administration rightly places community safety first

Credit: Maria Raffaele/Art Editor Credit: Maria Raffaele/Art Editor

We live in extraordinary times.

Last week, for the first time since 2003, Carnegie Mellon University canceled classes due to snow. Campus was closed for three days due to weather for perhaps the first time in its 110-year history. These snow-related closings and cancellations inconvenienced students and professors, administration and staff alike. Tests, lectures, and assignments must be rescheduled, syllabi must be rearranged, and we all must return to our normal, blizzard-free lives.
Yet despite the interruption to our routine, we applaud the university administration for demonstrating its commitment to the safety of its students and employees by complying with the city’s request to cancel classes.

At a school where missing a single day can take a week to make up, closing the campus is not an easy choice. But the cost of missed classes is much less than that of broken bones or car accidents. Rather than putting pressure on faculty to brave the dangerous roads or on students to walk down icy paths, the university made the responsible choice to accept the reality of the city’s situation.

It was not Carnegie Mellon’s fault that Pittsburgh received almost 30 inches of snow in six days or that the city was woefully underprepared for such a storm. In fact, the university’s response was faster and more effective than the city’s: By Wednesday morning, sidewalks across the Cut were clear, while Forbes Avenue remained a sheet of ice. The school’s leaders made the right choice in closing offices, not because campus was impassable, but for the well-being of staff and students living off campus.

While Snowmageddon 2010 has come to an end, we commend the actions of an administration that rightly places the safety of its community as a top priority.