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Concerns over closing on campus

5 February 2014 By Cody Boteler, Assistant News Editor No Comments

On Monday, Towson University was hit midday by a brief but heavy blanket of sleet, ice and snow.
Despite some student and faculty concern, Towson remained open all day. Conditions were slick in the morning, and the worst of the precipitation occurred at midday.
“One of my classes in the afternoon [on Monday] was cancelled, because my professor couldn’t make it in – that’s kind of a good indication that it wasn’t safe to go out,” junior Kim Anguish said.
Other students agreed that conditions on Monday were not safe, and that the University should not have remained open.
“I just thought that it was really dangerous,” freshman Ali Hinman said. “I know that the school can’t control the weather, but they can control how they respond to [icy conditions].”
Commuter students had difficulty as well. Freshman Caitlyn Jones said that she missed three classes on Monday, because road conditions between her house in Carroll County and Towson University were not safe to drive through.
By 3 p.m. however, most walkways on campus seemed to have been cleared of ice.
Senior Artie Dana said that he didn’t have any issues getting to class on Monday. All of Dana’s classes were later in the afternoon.
Vice President for Administration and Finance Joe Oster is one of the individuals responsible for deciding whether the University will close. Oster said the decision to open on time on Monday was a difficult call to make.
“We’re trying to make a judgment call at 5:30 in the morning about a condition that’s not even here yet,” he said.
Oster described the process of deciding whether or not to close campus as a collaborative process.
“At 5:30 I get a phone call from Police Chief Bernie Gerst, who connects me to Scott Guckert at Facilities Management, and we discuss the condition of the campus, the conditions that we know from Baltimore County and surrounding police jurisdictions as to what’s happening with roads.”
Then, Oster said, they deliberate with the information that they have, and make a call.
Yesterday was a different story. Because of slick conditions in the morning, Towson University delayed opening until 10 a.m. Icy conditions persisted on parts of campus throughout the day.
On Twitter, Towson students compared campus to an ice rink, and many stated that they did not have power in the morning or during the day. In addition, Baltimore County Public Schools were closed on Wednesday.
“They probably should have cancelled it [Wednesday], because of the ice,” senior Thomas Bradley said.
Others disagreed. Hinman said that closing Towson University on Wednesday would have been “excessive.”
Oster said that he understands that any decision made in regards to closing campus, people will disagree with the call.
“No matter what we do, there will always be some [complaints],” he said.
Oster said that he was not aware of any injuries that occurred yesterday because of the icy conditions.
“We believe very strongly that we made the right call [Wednesday],” Oster said.


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