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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Blizzard of 2015 Frustrates UMass Boston Community Members


Record-breaking snowfall hit New England in two separate snow storms, occurring in a single week as January transitioned to February.

University of Massachusetts Boston community members expressed concerns over the ongoing snowstorm, which has already led to several campus closures. 
“This is frustrating,” wrote Philosophy Professor Jeremy Wanderer in a correspondence to his class. “Having just finally managed to dig my car out, I discover school is cancelled. How frustrating, not least as this is the second Tuesday in a row of no classes.”
The snowstorm started late Monday, Jan. 26 and carried on for several days. According to the National Weather Service, which took its official measurement at Logan Airport, more than 24.6 inches of snow fell in Boston.

UMass Boston Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Ellen M. O’Connor echoed several meteorologists by stating that this blizzard has been part of a record-setting winter in Boston. “We just experienced the snowiest seven-day period in the city’s history, with close to 50 inches of snowfall, and as a city, we are feeling the effects,” she wrote in an email to UMass Boston community members.

Throughout the blizzard, thousands of Massachusetts residents were left without power. Early on Tuesday, Jan. 27, National Grid reported that about 6,500 customers were without power. And NStar was reporting more than 6,300 customers in the dark, mostly in coastal communities that were being affected by high winds.

“People should just stay off the road. You’re putting your life in danger if you go out on the roads tonight and tomorrow,” advised NWS meteorologist Alan Dunham on the eve of the blizzard. “Once you get home, just stay there,” he warned. “This has the potential to be a fairly historic storm.”

Due to the expected snowstorm, UMass Boston closed its campus as early as 3 p.m. on Monday Jan. 26. All evening classes and activities were cancelled. The campus remained closed for the next two days.

In the following week, the campus was again obliged to close on Tuesday, Feb. 2 and on Wednesday, Feb. 3 because of the “concerns about the reliability and safety of public transportation,” said a message from the UMass Boston Alert System.

“This snowstorm is getting annoying,” said Kenneth MacIntosh. “I just want to graduate. I do not want to push the semester out into the summer.”

MacIntosh is a senior majoring in psychology. He believes that the blizzard can have psychological implications on some students. “It can definitely lead to students’ stress.”

“It affects students ability to come to class, and to keep up with the semester,” he said. He explained how some students, in some classes, will be obliged to learn their classes materials in no time.

Along those same lines, University Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Winston Langley reassured students that UMass Boston will do a “Monday Makeup Day” to allow them to catch up with missed class sessions. As he put it in a statement, “[T]he University will extend the academic calendar by one day, observing Thursday, May 14, 2015 as a Monday makeup class.”

The university was set to close one more time on Monday, Feb. 9 and Tuesday, Feb. 10.