On Tuesday, January 24, Bates College administrative offices were delayed from opening until noon. All employees who were not designated as “essential” were asked to remain at home. Nonetheless, Commons and the Library were still open throughout the day. Classes were left to the discretion of the professor. But campus in many ways did come to a standstill.
This logistical nightmare was a result of the sleet and icy conditions that, although always a reality of Maine winters, were more intolerable than usual. Yet this was also the first time that the college has had a delayed opening in the college’s recent history. For many excited students this meant liberation from their morning classes but for others it led to false excitement as many devoted professors affirmed that class was scheduled as usual.
The day itself was filled with bizarre weather, as a mesh of water, ice, and snow merged with one another to combine into an unholy mix of tumultuous precipitation. Students who still had classes were forced to bear the inclimate weather along with snow filled pathways. At the same time, campus workers had to begin the monotonous task of cleaning up the mess.
The delay was called by the Senior Emergency Response Group which is made up of representatives from the offices of the dean of the faculty, dean of students, vice president of finance and administration, security, communications, facility services and dining services, and whose job it is deliberate with one another on how to “develop and coordinate the College’s response to emergencies.” After proper assessment of the weather conditions on Tuesday, the Senior Emergency Response Group opted to enact a delayed start.
Student reactions were varied. For many students the most surprising aspect was not the delay, but that the school called their phones.
“My dad got a call at 4 am and was confused and worried something happened”, said Mary Buford Turnage ‘19. “When I went outside, the pathway was inches deep in water,” Turnage remarked regarding the weather.
Additionally another student, Natalie Givens ‘20 said, “nothing was better than to wake up and hear that I didn’t have to go to my 8 am.” However, one reaction mutually expressed by the entire Bates community was gratitude for the campus workers who had to shovel and clear the numerous pathways that had been blocked. Regardless, by noon, most of the snow had been cleared sufficiently enough to reopen administrative building and all Bates academic and administrative services continued to operate smoothly.