The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Harsh weather merits snow day

When I first came to NMU, I was ready for a school that boasted hardiness when it came to facing the harsh winter elements not present in the Lower Peninsula.

I came packed with boxes full of hand, feet and head warmers, as well as long underwear, wool socks and a menagerie of other things to prepare for winter’s fury.

Still, I am not alone in my confusion following some of the school closings that have occurred recently, along with the closings that did not occur.

No matter if NMU has school or not, I still have to ride a bus into town and get busy working on campus at my jobs.

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I love school, and I usually cringe when we have a day off because that means I am going to be stockpiled with even more work for weeks to come. I can only resort to thinking that putting hard-working and tuition-paying students in danger is not right.

There are other times when inclement weather is just too severe to ignore.

On Thursday, Jan. 31, most of the Upper Peninsula and parts of the Lower Peninsula suffered one of the largest winter storms of the season. According to TV6, the weather was “too dangerous for civilians to endure,” especially for long-distance commuters.

Every public school in the area was closed, and many local businesses closed or locked their doors early due to the storm.

Northern Michigan University remained open.

Following a week with two back-to-back days off, NMU appeared to be returning back into the hardy school I had first heard it to be. To me, it looked like the weather was probably not as bad as it seemed outside my window.

That is, until I hit the streets to get to campus in the morning.

As per my usual routine, I waited for the city bus to swing by my house at around 9 a.m. Something immediately was amiss, as a completely different bus driver arrived at my location 15 minutes late. Once onboard, I learned that most of the buses were running behind due to the weather. We did not make it far when the bus careened into a ditch. It happened in an instant, and the bus driver handled the situation perfectly. She called for assistance, and informed us to wait just a few minutes.

A passing tow truck (they were quite busy that day) saw us there and pulled over to give us a hand. The tow truck then slid into the ditch right in front of us.

I asked if I could get off the bus and walk back to my house, seeing as it wasn’t too far away and I usually am a dedicated walker.

I was able to borrow a car from a friend to get to my 10 a.m. class, and I was off again.

I got stuck right in the middle of a road near campus.

A Public Safety official was driving nearby when I first lost my traction in the street and was at my location in no time to dig me out. In that time period, it became evident to me that these weather conditions were beyond ordinary “U.P. winter weather.”

Still, Public Safety was doing a fantastic job at helping people get through the entire situation.

According to the Public Safety page on www.nmu.edu, “the decision to cancel classes due to inclement weather is made cooperatively by the director of Public Safety and Police Services and NMU’s provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.”

I completely understand having two days of closure due to dangerously cold temperatures for the surrounding public schools in the area and even for NMU students.

However, the weather conditions on that Thursday were clearly more severe. When city buses and tow trucks are having issues staying on the road, then commuters in small and large cars, in theory, must be having even more trouble.

When an establishment such as Northern Michigan University must close its doors on cloudless days twice in a row while remaining open for session on a day when cars are getting stuck in the middle of residential streets near its campus, then something is just not right.

We understand that we should be used to inclement weather, but we also know inclement weather enough and have lived within it long enough to know how to deal with dangerously cold conditions.

Marquette residents and NMU students should be prepared enough to handle the harsh conditions up here.

Cold days off are fine, but they should not inhibit the decision to cancel school on a day when weather is clearly more dangerous.

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