Have you ever been walking to class and began to feel your eyebrows freezing? I think it’s safe to say that after the bitingly cold temperatures of Friday, Jan. 16, we’ve all experienced this sensation.
With temperatures at 20 below zero at 9:30 a.m. and a wind chill that made it feel like minus 40 degrees, it seems impossible that anyone on the Goshen College campus could have avoided this experience – unless, perhaps, classes had been canceled due to the intense cold.
It is our duty, as students, to walk through cold weather to show up to our classes. Therefore, it is the duty of this institution to ensure the safety of its students.
Early Friday morning, the National Weather Service determined the frigid weather to be dangerous to anyone walking outside:
“A WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON EST /11 AM CST/ TODAY. THIS WILL RESULT IN FROST BITE AND LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA OR DEATH IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.”
Maybe this is an advisory that should have been noted by Goshen College administration and professors alike. With this warning in effect, why was it deemed OK for students to walk for more than several minutes in order to get to their classes?
The National Weather Service warning continued:
“WIND CHILL VALUES WILL GRADUALLY RISE TO BETWEEN 15 BELOW AND 25 BELOW ZERO BY EARLY AFTERNOON FRIDAY. EXPOSED SKIN WILL FREEZE IN MINUTES. PROLONGED OUTDOOR EXPOSURE THIS MORNING WILL PROVE DEADLY.”
Perhaps my walk from the student apartments to the Church-Chapel isn’t enough to cause the potentially deadly situation this advisory predicted, but what about students who live in Howell House and must walk to classes in Newcomer Center?
According to the National Weather Service, our small trek to classes on Friday could have had a hazardous result.
We also need to think about the safety of our commuter students. What would have happened if a car had broken down and a student was left stranded in the cold? How about those who come from Elkhart and have to take the bus to get to Goshen? Waiting for the bus in such freezing temperatures is not fun at all!
Also, not everyone can get to class on time in such weather. Walking on the icy roads was even more dangerous – people kept falling down, making it harder to run and be on time.
On Friday we were all put in danger so that we could sit through a 50 minute class and not fall behind in the semester. Perhaps Goshen College needs to reconsider what is more important – a 50 minute class or the safety of its students.
Sara Noah is junior theater and English double major from Saginaw, Mich.