Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Recognizing weather's a chilling reality

The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

It's cold. Historically cold.

In grade school, we'd flush ice cubes down the toilet, sleep with spoons under our pillows and do whatever else we could think of to will a snow day into existence.

In college, we'll hope for the best, but we need to prepare to trek to class in icy, negative temperatures.

Most elementary and high school students do not spend as much time outside as college students, so it's unfair that we are perhaps the least likely to get the day off because of extreme weather.

This Wednesday, Jan. 30, threatens a high of 2 degrees and a low of -3. The National Weather Service has already issued a wind chill advisory for Butler County lasting until 7 p.m. on Wednesday. However, it's possible that Miami University will still be open, and classes will still be in session.

In the past, Miami has canceled and postponed classes due to snow and extreme cold. In 2018, the university delayed J-term classes until 10 a.m. on Jan. 8. In 2015, the university canceled classes from Thursday, Feb. 19 until 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 20.

When classes were canceled on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 it was because of snow and temperatures were still in the 30s. When classes were canceled in February 2015, temperatures were similar to what they will be on Wednesday. On Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, the high temperature was 7 degrees and the low was -6 degrees, with winds speeds up to 14 mph making it feel much colder.

University policy states that canceling classes is left up to the discretion of university administrators, specifically President Crawford. The flexibility in this policy lets the university respond to extreme weather on a case-by-case basis, and hopefully those cancellation decisions are made with campus safety in mind.

This policy is typical of universities around the country. Ohio University has an almost identical policy, leaving cancellations and closures to the discretion of their president unless the Athens County Sheriff declares a weather emergency.

We are not asking for classes to be called off every time temperatures become slightly uncomfortable, but when wind chill advisories are put into effect and temperatures drop below zero, administrators need to take the safety of their students and employees seriously.

When students have to spend large amounts of time walking to class in subzero temperatures they are putting themselves in danger of frostbite and hypothermia. Faculty and staff, many of whom do not live in Oxford, are also putting themselves in danger when they have to commute here on icy back roads surrounding campus.

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This is not an issue of students being lazy -- this is about our safety and the safety of our instructors. To keep students and faculty safe, we ask that the administration consider "cold day" decisions carefully later this week and throughout the rest of the winter.

That being said, if classes are ultimately suspended, students have a responsibility to their own safety. Miami posted an announcement on the MyMiami homepage warning students about damaging exposure to frigid air and temperatures.

We all need to take these warnings seriously and take measures to keep ourselves safe. To be frank, don't be stupid.

Just because your Wednesday classes are canceled, it's not an excuse to go spend the day at bars Uptown or drinking outside at your friend's house. Alcohol-impaired judgment and cold weather is a disastrous combination.

The university will not be lenient about canceling class for cold if students do not respect these cancellations. Be safe, stay inside and if you have to go out, be sure to dress warm.