Temperature cools, students sizzle

Gavin Gaddis

Dear commuter students,

Calm down about the weather.

USI closed down for a day last week due to snow and ice covering campus, and the celebration scene from the end of “Return of the Jedi” was re-enacted through all forms of social media.

School was cancelled.

Things were fantastic.

Students cuddled up in their respective dwellings and proceeded to enjoy their three-day weekend while campus ran on a skeleton crew, “Essential personnel only.”

The university announced late Monday afternoon that class was back in session starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Suddenly a steady stream of negative comments began to trickle in, ranging from simple statements such as “School should be cancelled” to more self-righteous proclamations that USI does not care about its commuter students.

I have not seen this much outrage and indignation over an announcement since the “Star Trek” reboot was delayed six months.

As a commuter student, I have a 40-minute drive from a small town in Kentucky, meaning I have several major points of failure during my morning drive.

If a certain highway is impassible, I have to drive an extra hour to get to school.

If the bridge across the Ohio is blocked, I’m simply not attending school that day.

My daily car is a rear-wheel drive with performance tires – a requirement by design of the vehicle, not by my choice – that forever lives a hate/hate relationship with snow and ice.

It takes a hell of a lot of effort to get to school on a normal day.

That being said, USI was totally within their right to open on Tuesday.

This university is the size of a small city.

Hundreds of people are employed to keep several major buildings filled with hundreds of rooms running at peak conditions.

Greenhouses need warming.

Chemical storage labs need stable temperatures.

Science experiments need tending.

Restaurants need to run.

Remember how only essential employees were working Monday? That included people working in the C-Store, The Loft and Burger King.


So the people in the residence halls have somewhere to procure food while snowed in.

USI is a living, breathing entity that needs constant upkeep and attention.

Closing it down to a skeleton crew could potentially cause irreparable damage to many things this semester, if not future ones.

Commuters should know that university officials care about them.

There is no conspiracy to screw over a significant portion of the student population.

I know it’s easy for a commuter to feel like an outsider here, because I have felt that way myself.

Even then, you must remember one important fact: You are an adult.

Too icy to drive to school?

Feel it’s too dangerous?

Snap a picture of your icy driveway and send your instructor a politely worded e-mail.

Class may not be cancelled, but if your instructor is a sane, rational human being – which is generally a quality schools look for in instructors – they will understand and likely not punish you for being a responsible adult.

You are an adult.

Act like one and make your own decisions.

Whining on social media is not the way to effect change on campus life.