Fredericton — The University of New Brunswick campus on Fredericton’s south side remained open on Thursday despite snow in the forecast, leading to an outcry on social media from students upset by both the decision not to close, as well as the way the university made light of the apparently serious situation.
As a result, UNB is handing over the reins to students when it comes to deciding whether campus should close for bad weather or for any other reason; now, instead of making the tough call at the crack of dawn, the university will scan social media throughout the day to glean what the most students want, and act accordingly.
“We usually make the decision before 6 a.m., and at that time on Thursday there was little snow and not enough in the forecast to warrant a full campus closure,” said a communications director who wished to remain anonymous so students don’t mercilessly troll her online. “That said, our students are technically adults — we told them they can stay home if they believed their safety was jeopardized.
“But,” she added, “it seems some students were also upset because our social media team posted a meme of a crying cartoon baby to ‘make fun of’ a student who complained about campus being open. Originally I thought our employee was just keeping student/staff interactions light, but I now realize how dead-wrong I was. The students taught me that — I honestly learn more from them than they do from me.”
UNB students are relieved that the decision-making power is being stripped from the administration and placed in their more confident, if inexperienced hands.
“No one should ever joke about snow,” said first-year student Jessica McCain, “or about anything as far as I’m concerned. As a paying student, I get to decide whether school is open. This isn’t high school — back then I had to fake sick so my mom would let me stay home. But this is 2017: when I wake up at 9ish and see some snow, I need to know that my university shut down for the day… or at least all the classes before noon… I actually enjoy my afternoon classes.”
Another student, Kieran Dorchester, agreed. “Any time UNB made the wrong decision in the past, I was more than happy to spend all day griping online about apologies and professionalism rather than sitting in class or studying,” he said. “Thankfully, now I can just tweet about how irresponsible UNB is and get results — fast. I’m in control of my own education, and that feels pretty good.”
Students can now collectively decide to close campus for the following other reasons:
- if any student has a dentist appointment that can’t be moved to a more convenient time
- if a party goes really late and students are too hungover to function
- if a student gets a part-time job whose hours conflict with classes
- if a general sense of ennui inexplicably envelops the campus and students foresee an impending existential crisis
- literally any other reason, as long as it gains enough momentum on Facebook and Twitter
While I appreciate satire as a form of comedy, and often enjoy stories on this website, this post just isn’t good. It’s a complete misrepresentation of the”situation” that took place on Tuesday and removes any nuance. Whether or not the university should have been closed (it being open wasn’t the issue at all) is irrelevant. It was noted that, on the same campus, one of the three schools closed. The response given by UNB’s official twitter account wasn’t appropriate.
Whether it was intended to poke fun at the student or not can be debated, but an ambiguous reply that could be taken that way should never have been posted. Many people are using the “In the real world, work doesn’t stop because of the snow” defense. While there is some truth to this, in the real world you also don’t make fun of your customers and expect nothing to come of it. The person behind the twitter account very well have had good intentions, but it wasn’t a well thought out response and it reflected poorly on the entire university.
You must be a hit at parties.
This is a huge misrepresentation of what actually happened. I enjoy good satire and expect better of this site. Whether or not UNB’s response had ill intent or not, it was ambiguous and many students (customers) felt they were being insulted by the institution (business) they choose to give money to. In my field, if my clients feel as though I insulted them, whether I intended to or not, there are repercussions. This one employee behind the UNB twitter account made the entire institution look bad. Despite what you might think, whether or not the school should have closed is not the focus of the story
I was triggered by the micro-aggressions in this post.