What a crazy end to the Fall 2010 semester at Concord University, right?
I had two finals scheduled for Thursday, the final day of the semester. One at 9 a.m. and the second was at 11:30. Wednesday night, I'm laying in bed around 3 a.m. and I look out the window. It's dark and I don't have my glasses on, but it looks like the sky is moving outside my window. "Must be snowing," I think to myself. I wake up a little before 8 a.m. and realize that it had been snowing. How much, I was soon to find out.
Around 8:30, I'm getting ready to leave. I open the door and see the following:
We're not on the inclement weather exam schedule, as I had not received a text message from Concord. Right before I leave, I get a text message from one of my professors asking if I can make it to campus. Since we're not on the inclement weather schedule, I tell my professor that I should be able to, since Athens Road is probably cleared. Otherwise, I reason, we'd be on the inclement weather schedule.
I was wrong. Athens Road, the winding backroad to Concord, has not been cleared:
The speed limit on Athens Road is 45. The average speed people usually go on Athens Road is about 55-60. I was creeping down Athens Road at a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour:
When I finally made it to campus, the grounds were horrible. Nothing had been cleared and maintenance men were in the process of clearing off sidewalks on lawn mowers rigged with snow plows:
I make it to my final about 10 minutes late. It's okay, the professor was also running late. He woke up and assumed we were on the inclement weather schedule, so he wasn't rushing to campus. The final starts at about 9:15. At 9:22 I receive a text message. The professor isn't paying attention, so I pull my phone out and check it. It's a text alert from Concord. It says that the campus will be closing at 11:15 (after the first final).
I finish my final at about 10 o'clock and head to the library. I sit there and try to grasp the situation. As I'm doing that, I upload the pictures above (and a few others) to Facebook. I think to myself, "How could we not have been on the inclement weather schedule today?"
I decide to do a little journalism and look up the number for Mark Stella. Along with being Concord's Police Chief, he is also the Director of Public Safety. I try his office a few times and both times his secretary tells me that he is not available. By this point it's getting pretty bad out, so I go home.
I never did get an answer to why were weren't on the inclement weather schedule. This was a huge mistake by Concord's President, Gregory Aloia, to not place us on the inclement weather exam schedule. There were probably about 4 inches of snow on the ground when I looked out the door at 8:30 Thursday morning. When I left Concord at around 11, it was alternating between hail and rain, which caused the roads to freeze.
I don't know if this has changed since the last time I heard about it, but a committee (with Dr. Aloia having final say) determines whether or not to put Concord on the inclement weather schedule. Unless things have changed, here's how the committee works: they informally get together the night before and check the forecast, they all wake up really early and check the forecast and roads and whatnot, they get together and decide the course of action, then Dr. Aloia makes his final decision based on their report.
I don't know who's on the committee aside from Dr. Aloia and Officer Stella. I'm not even sure if that's still the way they decide to go on the inclement weather schedule. If anybody knows anything else, fill me in.
Bottom line here is that somebody fucked up. Concord should not have been on the regular exam schedule Thursday morning. People were put in danger by driving on snow-covered roads. I know, I drove on those roads. Those were horrible conditions. Somebody finally realized it, as they made the decision to close campus before 9:30. The decision should have been made hours earlier, in a much-more responsible and timely manner.
If anybody knows why we were not placed on the inclement weather exam schedule, let us know. Like John Walsh says, "You can remain anonymous."