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