Temple students were outraged when faced with the reality of reporting to class, despite the inclement weather conditions that plagued Philadelphia and its surrounding areas yesterday morning.
With more than 10 inches of snow covering the streets of Philadelphia and with many closings including all schools, trains, buses, and even airports, Temple administrators deemed it favorable for the University to remain open-and did not consider its many commuters.
With cars buried under piles of snow, sidewalks slicked with ice, and streets halfway plowed, many Temple students braved the elements to
attend classes but were not happy to do so.
“Temple should really be ashamed,” said Gloria Gobah, a sophomore Kinesiology major. “There is so much snow outside. I don’t understand how they could make us go to class.”
Malcolm Kenyatta, a senior Communications major here at Temple, incensed at the University’s decision, created Fired Up!:Students for a Better Temple on Facebook early Thursday morning. Fired Up! included an I.Petition to gain five-thousand signatures by Friday, which has reached its goal as well as airtime on NBC 1O News.
The Petition, composed by Kenyatta, called for Temple University to change its Inclement Weather Policy. The Petition, in full, states:
Today even in the face of over 10 inches of snow Temple University classes and facilities remain open. Though Philadelphia has called a state of emergency and most, if not all schools in our area are closed, buses, trains, and airports are all closed, we remain open. As of yet Temple has not clearly explained to students what their inclement weather policy is or what conditions would constitute them closing. So many of our students commute to school and will have to miss class and work because the conditions are too dangerous. This shows an utter disregard for students, faculty, and staff’s safety and well being. The shuttles from Ambler to main campus WERE NOT running today, but no one was told. This is unacceptable! I know it often seems you can’t make a change at your university. But by signing this petition and inviting your friends you will no longer just be one voice. You will join a loud chorus which says to Temple clearly and boldly; OUR SAFETY COMES FIRST!
We also demand that the inclement weather policy and rationale be distributed to the student body as soon as possible. In addition we want the administration to issue a memo to professors who did not cancel class and ask them to excuse students who were not able to attend because of the cancellations and delays of public transportation. As students we are the life force of this university and we will NOT be ignored.
Yesterday, Kenyatta told Temple News, “We can’t necessarily decide when school is canceled and when it’s not. “ But students should have a say. A lot of people might think [the petition] is us griping about not having a snow day, but it’s not. This is about safety.”
Because of the numerous complaints by students and even media attention, Tom Wagner, Executive Vice President and CFO Treasurer of Temple University, addressed the issue via Temple’s Homepage:
“There have been a number of inquiries regarding Temple’s decision to open for normal operations today, Jan. 27, 2011.
The decision to remain open was made early this morning following an on-site review of the campus, the ongoing weather forecast and other information available through media outlets and our contacts at SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia and other colleges and universities. An important consideration was the fact that the snow had stopped at around 1 a.m. and Temple’s facilities and operations crews had worked overnight to clear the campuses.
Temple is always open for operations regardless of weather conditions in order to serve and support the nearly 13,000 students living on or near campus, including the 5,000 students living in university residence halls. In addition, our clinics and health service operations must operate on a regular schedule for the many patients who rely on Temple’s services every day.
These are always difficult decisions. We hear your concerns and will continue to use the best information available to make these decisions.”
Because of the student body rallying together, Temple University administrators have implemented their Inclement Weather Policy. Changes will be forthcoming.
Though to some it was a bad judgment call, this incident exemplifies the important message that by the power of numbers change can be made.