As I write this, I am sitting in a car that came to pick me up three hours ago. Traffic has been at a standstill for most of that time, and, in the span of three hours, I have traveled a mile. Stadium Boulevard is completely stalled; a mixture of cars and ambulances litter the road, which now has no definable lanes. From what I hear, there are now 9 inches of snow on the ground. I have no way of knowing whether those involved in the accident up ahead are MU students, but I do know that if the university had closed yesterday when they found out about the storm or early this morning when it began, traffic wouldn't be nearly as bad and emergency personnel wouldn't be struggling as much to reach the victims.
Quite honestly, I wonder what exactly the MU administrators were thinking when they refused to close campus until roads were nearly impassable. From what I've heard, the university has only cancelled class 5 or 6 times due to inclement weather. This is a matter of pride for the university, which refuses to close its doors unless absolutely necessary. The choice to keep the university open during extreme weather allows teachers to demand that their students attend class when snow has reached 6 or 7 inches and driving conditions are hazardous. I stayed on campus today to take a quiz under the threat of being awarded zero points and no makeup quiz should I fail to come. The teacher only canceled class when the university itself shut down. By that time, my car was buried under the snow and I had to call someone who had a four wheel drive to come get me. My car will be stuck in the Hearnes Center parking lot all night until I can dig it out in the morning. Several of my friends are tweeting and posting that they are stuck all night on campus.
I am outraged that the university put its pride and tradition above the safety of its students. Thanks to the administration, many students will be spending the night in the student center, which is not equipped to house several hundred students overnight. The safety of the students and their cars as well as the well being of the general public around campus was not considered at all today, and I'm at a loss to understand how the university could be so unprepared. We knew this was coming. Columbia public schools shut down a day early to prepare for the storm. I don't feel it would be an exaggeration to say that the university and its administrators were reckless with the lives of its students, faculty and staff. Hopefully next time there is a snowstorm, the university won't wait until the governor declares a state of emergency to send its students home.
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