Happy Valley:Great Depression :: ?:Snowpocalypse
University Park beat Snowpocalpyse ’10, there’s no doubt about that. Roads were clear by early morning, classes continued as usual (although they were a bit sparser than normal). You’d think the resilience would make a country on the outskirts of depression Happy (as in the Valley). Quite the contrary emerged on Facebook, however. Chase explained what happened earlier this morning, but in short, some Facebook fans decided it was time to tell Penn State exactly how maligned it was for refusing to cancel classes yesterday.
The decision to cancel classes was played out in yesterday’s Collegian as being in large part an economic issue. I got a different understanding when I spoke to Penn State Live yesterday. The university spokesman explained the decision on opening is made by a committee that includes a meteorologist; Penn State’s snow marshal, the masterful Lloyd Rhodes*; Graham Spanier, or another executive; and the Penn State Police, which consults with PennDOT.
In this case, I believe that given the situation Lloyd and the others were assessing, they made the correct call. Campus was clear yesterday, much better conditions than the roads were in State College last Saturday morning. OPP mobilized its army to great effect.
However, the university did not seem to fully appreciate the severity of conditions in areas outside the downtown area. Many students, staff, and faculty live tens of miles away from State College. Consider the fact that the university shut down Penn State Altoona, just under an hour’s drive from here.
What do you think? Did Penn State make the right call? Was yesterday’s opening a slight against the safety of the vast Penn State UP community?
* Seriously, one of the most caustic moments in yesterday’s Greater Penn State Facebook Brawl was when a “fan” posted Rhodes’ contact information on the page. Another message had language that just isn’t to be used in a public setting.