I am a 2nd year student in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. I am writing to you today to express my anger and protest at the university’s irresponsible response to today’s extreme weather event.
The winter storm today (Feb 12th), was predicted several days in advance. Furthermore, Environment Canada declared a storm warning in advance, predicting 15-20 cm of snow and possible freezing rain, gusts of wind upto 80 km/h and low visibility. They further advised that all non-essential travel be postponed until after the storm. In accordance with this warning, all university and college campuses in the GTA cancelled all classes on Feb 12th due to unsafe commuting conditions. This cancellation was done early morning, allowing students to safely stay home for the day.
UTSG, however, did nothing until 12pm, and then cancelled classes starting at 4pm or later. This is an empty gesture, devoid of any safety considerations. Very few students have no classes starting before 4pm, meaning that due to UTSG’s irresponsibly late reaction, nearly all students have been forced to come to campus already. They have been put at risk in coming to campus during this storm, and will be put at risk going back. UTSG’s empty gesture does not help anyone.
This is not the first time UTSG has irresponsibly stayed open, only to cancel classes when everyone is already on campus. I ask that my elected representatives, use their platform and institutional power to demand UTSG put policies in place to prevent late, meaningless cancellations from happening again. When there are clear predictions of an adverse weather event and official warnings days in advance, UTSG must cancel classes in advance, before students come to campus. This is not a revolutionary demand. Every single other university and college in the GTA, including UTM and UTSC, seems to have no problem with this. Students should not be forced to choose between their safety and coming to class.