Campus Life

The Bad Weather Commute: Commuter Students Tackle Icy Conditions Getting to Campus

For students who dorm on campus, it might be a bit difficult to go from class to class during the winter. But for students commuting to campus, the winter weather can wreak havoc on a morning commute.

Students who rely on public transportation to get to campus have a different experience than students driving in icy conditions.  Christian Roodal/The Quadrangle

Students who rely on public transportation to get to campus have a different experience than students driving in icy conditions.
Christian Roodal/The Quadrangle

Freshman Carolina Alcaraz commutes to campus and was stuck here last week when afternoon classes were cancelled due to the impending winter storm last Monday.

“They waited until the last minute to tell us and I needed to plan my ride back in advance” Alcaraz said. The college waited until Monday at around noon to call off classes for the rest of the day and for Alcaraz, that was too late.

She said her mother comes at 6 p.m. to pick her up and when classes after 3 p.m. were cancelled, she did not have anywhere to go.

Freshman Talisha Ramlall takes the bus every morning and said her house is seven minutes away from Manhattan College.

During last week’s winter weather events on Monday and Tuesday, she did not have any problems due to situation because as she said the bus “works out pretty good in all weather conditions.”

Ramlall, who relies on public transit instead of driving in to campus, said she thought the school handled the situation very well.

“They didn’t overreact,” to impending blizzard threats, she said. “They made a decision based on facts.”

Robert De Rosa, associate director of public safety and risk management, said that Manhattan College administrators decide whether or not to close campus based on different factors.

“It’s whether or not we can keep the college open and operating under safe conditions, whether the pathways could be free of ice and snow and [whether we are able to] plow the parking lots. Which we cannot plow if cars are here,” DeRosa said.

The decision to close the college is one made as a group by Provost William Clyde and public safety administrators as they monitor updates from the city’s Office of Emergency Management.

“The commuters are affected by the decision [we make],” DeRosa said.  “We don’t want anyone traveling in bad weather, ice or snow.”

DeRosa said that the factor that prevails is safety for the college community.

“We don’t look at the commuters separately. We look at the entire campus as a whole,” DeRosa said.

For some commuters, the college’s decision to close or not is irrelevant. Some commuters said they would rather stay home and miss class than risk traveling in icy conditions.

Junior Melissa Pierre-Louis lives an hour and 40 minutes away from campus and said she would not come to campus if a snowstorm was forecasted and the college did not cancel classes.

Another junior commuter Jasmeen Hussain said she weighs the pros and cons of traveling in bad weather when classes are not cancelled before she makes a decision.

“Do I really need to go to school? I feel scared that an accident could happen [to me],” she said.