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Students struggle back to campus through snow

By Maggie Callaghan, Senior Staff Writer

Lucy Fox woke up early last Friday morning to find 4 inches of snow already covering the ground outside her home. The sophomore's plans to return to Oxford on Friday from Nashville were derailed because of this storm and she had to wait until Saturday.

Only 10 minutes into her trip from Nashville, Fox noticed cars lining the side of the unpaved interstate. Then, just minutes later, her car spun 180 degrees into a ditch.

"We weren't going very fast, but I guess we hit a spot of ice or slushy snow," said Fox, who was a passenger at the time.

Like Fox, many Miami University students had trouble returning to Oxford this past weekend because of the historic Blizzard "Jonas." The blizzard stretched through a large portion of country, sweeping through the South, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast corridors from Thursday all the way through Sunday.

This storm has left at least 48 people dead and many more still stranded in their homes. A record 26.8 inches fell in Central Park according to the National Weather Service, and states such as Maryland and Virginia experienced the most snow that has ever been recorded in those states.

Virginia Bulger, first-year from Herndon, Virginia, witnessed the storm's power firsthand.

"It didn't stop for 36 hours," said Bulger. "I woke up Sunday and my car was hidden."

Students were forced to make tough decisions about returning to Oxford because of the storm's intensity and strength. Aly Wong, a sophomore from Cleveland, was deciding between returning on Saturday or Sunday.

"The storm definitely made us lean toward Sunday … [My dad] doesn't like the snow," said Wong.

Travel has been a nightmare for those affected. Around 12,000 flights were cancelled last weekend because of the snow storm. One of those who experienced these cancellations was Miami sophomore Kylie Curtin.

Curtin, who is originally from New Jersey, was scheduled to come back to Oxford on Saturday. However, by Saturday morning, 'Jonas' had already dumped 30 inches in her area. Due to major delays, Curtin was unable to leave until Monday afternoon.

"By Sunday night into Monday, I started getting a little anxious because I wasn't sure if I was going to make it out by Monday night or even Tuesday, especially because I'd be missing a bunch of classes," said Curtin.

Curtin was not the only student to miss class on Monday because of the storm. Bulger was unable to return to her dorm until Monday afternoon and had to miss her classes that day. However, she said her professors were extremely understanding of the situation.

"My professors were really nice about it and wanted me back safely," said Bulger.

Even with the storm, Miami did not change its policy on returning back to residence halls. As of right now, students have to pay $22.50 in advance for every night that they plan to stay in their dorm room.

Students who do not make this request in advance have to pay $55 for every night. The dorms did not officially open until Sunday morning at 9 a.m.

Many students and parents have been left frustrated with this policy. Meaghan Murtagh, a first-year, was not planning to return early from Boston, Massachusetts, but due to the storm, she came back to Miami two days early. Murtagh said her parents were mad they had to pay extra when her three other sisters have to pay nothing at their universities because the residence halls open two to three days early.

According to Brian Woodruff, the Director of Housing Options, Meals, and Events at Miami, students are charged for returning early because the residence hall room rates only cover the fall and spring semesters. However, those who live in Heritage Commons are not charged this fee because they pay for the entire academic year.

Flights are gradually returning to their regular schedules. However, schools affected by the storm were still cancelled on Tuesday, and many side roads have yet to be cleared.