DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – First it was open — then it was closed. On Thursday, students at Southern Methodist University (SMU) got another day off from school, after a late decision by the university.
The ‘change of heart’ came after some students, took their concerns and rants to Facebook. The online push was to boycott the decision to hold classes.
“As I was getting ready for my shower, I got the email that said we weren’t having class today,” explained student Ethan Patrick. It was news Patrick wasn’t expecting to hear, but readily embraced.
After some concern, SMU officials cancelled classes, for a third straight day. Patrick thought the change was for the best. “I can just see a big disaster here, with people just falling all over the place,” he said.
Much of the campus remains covered under a sheet of ice and side streets in the area aren’t much better.
“The sidewalks are a little icy,” law student Tyler Pearson said of the conditions. “I have decent balance, but it’s been tough to get around.”
Despite the fact many North Texas independent school districts and college campuses were closed SMU officials wanted to hold classes Thursday.
The class ‘green light’ created such an uproar among students that sent some 1,300 of them to Facebook, urging everyone to boycott classes.
“Sidewalks are still frozen and all it takes is one bad step and a busted head. In case you haven’t noticed,” student Zane Cavender justified on the website.
Student Aidin Sydney Belganeh was adamant in her resolve. “There is no way I drive all the way to SMU today. I’m really sorry that my school doesn’t care about safety of its students!!”
But the boycott page didn’t set well with everyone. “I think it’s dumb. The school knows what its doing,’ said student Matt Roney. “If they don’t think its safe, they’ll cancel classes.”
Scott McRae said most of his fellow SMU students manage to do everything else they want. “Ice is manageable, nonetheless,” he said. “People walk to breakfast, to friends houses…if it’s manageable they should attempt to go, if it’s important to them.”
Eventually SMU gave students the option to excuse themselves from class, if they notified their professors.
But most students didn’t receive word that classes were cancelled until just before seven Thursday morning.
SMU issued a statement that said, in part, “When it became obvious that driving would remain hazardous, and we heard concerns expressed by members of our community, we decided to close the campus.”
“It’ll definitely be difficult to make up classes, but I feel like the schools making the right decision to close classes,” said McRae.
In preparation to fully reopen, SMU officials say work crews used more than 10,000 pounds of chemical ice melt on its streets and major walkways. Unfortunately they say when the chemical melts it just re-freezes.
Workers there wanted to use sand to treat areas, but all the companies they’ve contacted are sold out.