February 11th, 2019: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency due to the pending winter storm that was bound to arrive the next day. Almost all weather channels and websites predicted that there would be anywhere from three to six inches of snow with a rich mixture of ice and sleet.
Also February 11th, 2019: Rutgers University declares a delayed opening for all university classes except Rutgers Newark and RBHS Newark.
No matter how one puts it, to still have classes open during a state of emergency with all the potential perils is just ludicrous and abandons all common sense. Most other New Jersey colleges and universities seem to agree with this basic train of thought, as other New Jersey institutions like Kean University, Seton Hall University, and Montclair State University all wisely closed their respective campus classes to ensure the safety of their students.
This statement is made without even taking into account that Rutgers University has tens of thousands of students who commute to school. From the potential ice hazards to the massive amounts of mud and snow, the number of dangers the weather proposed is more than just a few. More than 17 thousand commuters were left in a lose-lose situation: risk their safety on the road driving to school or the valuable information from classes, which is more critical particularly now since the first wave of exams are approaching for most students. Thankfully, there were a handful of professors who were sane enough to cancel their classes because they actually recognized, unlike Rutgers University, that some students have to travel decent lengths to come to school.
This occurrence is not just a one-time event - Rutgers University opened during another blizzard last year, which caused massive issues towards student employees on campus. Again, most colleges closed during this statement of emergency except for Rutgers.
Simply put, there appears to be a lack of respect and care given towards Rutgers students and especially commuters. No logic can explain why Rutgers wants to put whatever incentive they may receive from opening the university above the safety of its students. The fact that this event happened multiple times bodes poorly for commuters in future situations like these. As such, there needs to be a tangible action to be taken immediately before an occurrence similar to this one happens again. Who knows when a severe accident or injury occurs as a result of sheer poor judgment? Priorities must change so that the well-being of students and commuters are number one compared to everything else.