Students upset by untimeliness of UTSG closure during winter storm, describe dangerous commutes

Upset students say that the decision to keep campus open endangers commuters

Students upset by untimeliness of UTSG closure during winter storm, describe dangerous commutes

UTSG students are reacting negatively to the university’s decision to keep the campus open during the winter storm that took place last Tuesday, when Environment Canada had issued a warning for a mix of snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, and strong winds.

While both UTM and UTSC were closed as of 6:45 am on Tuesday morning, UTSG did not announce that classes would be cancelled at 4:00 pm until nearly noon. The campus itself remained open throughout the day.

Upset students say that the decision to keep campus open endangers commuters, who are disadvantaged by the late notice of class cancellations, after many students have already arrived on campus.

During similar severe weather on January 28, U of T notified UTSG students that classes were cancelled as of 6:00 pm with a UTAlert email just minutes before.

Critics say that it is especially important make the announcement earlier because the majority of UTSG students are commuters — a 2015 study by StudentMoveTO found that 53 per cent of students take either local or regional transit to get to campus.

The university says it takes many factors into consideration when deciding whether or not to cancel classes or close a campus, and said that the safety of the U of T community is a “top priority.”

“The decision to cancel classes or close a campus is always challenging and a number of factors are considered, including public transportation, highway conditions, and snow and ice removal on campus grounds. In addition, differences in geographic locations may often lead to decisions that differ at our three campuses,” said U of T spokesperson Elizabeth Church.

Church denied the rumour that circulated on social media that U of T’s funding is affected by the decision to close campus. “Our provincial funding is based primarily on enrolment and is not affected by campus closures because of severe weather,” she said.

A change.org petition was created by a U of T student on the day of the storm, calling on  Vice-President & Provost Cheryl Regehr and Vice-President Human Resources & Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat to close the St. George campus “in tandem with UTM and UTSC” during severe weather. It has already gathered over 4,000 signatures.

Maryama Ahmed, a fourth-year student, started the petition out of frustration, seeing early Tuesday morning that many other schools in the GTA were closed.

“I started the petition to respectfully show the decision-makers… that this kind of decision-making is irresponsible and dangerous, and that UTSG needs to change how they decide on school closures,” said Ahmed.

Several students described dangerous commutes to UTSG during the storms to The Varsity.

Miryam Kaduri, a second-year student, said that while walking between classes, she slipped on a patch of ice and fell face forward. After visiting the Health & Wellness Centre, it was determined that Kaduri had a suspected concussion.

“I am extremely concerned for the health and well being of my fellow students during this intense season, and troubled that the university did not foresee the potential for problems, despite every other university and school board closing,” she said.

A third-year industrial engineering student who wished to remain anonymous due to privacy concerns, and who commutes from Brampton, said that they decided not to come to campus on Tuesday after they were rear-ended on the way home due to the dangerous driving conditions of the January 28 storm.

“I didn’t want to endanger myself out in the storm again. I think it’s completely unfair that there even has to be a trade-off between my safety versus my academics,” they said.

University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) President Anne Boucher commented on Reddit, “The university has a responsibility to ensure that students are able to attend classes safely.”

Boucher added that the UTSU is scheduling meetings with the administration to address the issue of campus closures in severe weather.

Schools and universities around the GTA closed their campuses in a similar fashion to UTM and UTSC. Ryerson University announced that it would be closed at 5:16 am, while York University announced that it would be closing its downtown locations and Keele and Glendon campuses effective 5:30 am The Toronto District School Board, the largest in Canada, also called its first snow day since 2011.

UTSG to cancel classes after 4:00 pm

UTM, UTSC already closed

UTSG to cancel classes after 4:00 pm

UTSG is cancelling classes from 4:00 pm onward today.

U of T said shortly before noon that, due to worsening weather conditions, all classes, tutorials, labs, tests, meetings, and other on-campus activities will be cancelled at UTSG.

Buildings and facilities remain open.

UTM and UTSC were closed earlier in the day.

UTM closed due to severe weather

UTSC closed, UTSG remains open

UTM closed due to severe weather

UTM is closed due to severe weather conditions across the GTA.

U of T said early Tuesday morning that all classes tutorials, labs, tests, meetings, and other on-campus activities are cancelled.

All UTM buildings are closed, and U of T said students, staff, and faculty should not come to campus unless they live on campus or are engaged in essential services.

Shuttle bus service is cancelled between UTM and UTSG, and UTM and Sheridan College.

UTSC is also closed. UTSG remains open.

UTSC closed due to severe weather

UTM closed, UTSG remains open

UTSC closed due to severe weather

UTSC has closed campus due to severe weather.

U of T announced the closure early Tuesday morning and said classes, tutorials, labs, tests, meetings, and other on-campus activities are cancelled.

The City of Toronto is under a winter storm warning, with Environment Canada saying there will be heavy snow in the morning and ice pellets in the afternoon. The agency also said there’s a risk of freezing rain.

UTM is also closed. UTSG remains open.

UTSC to close campus due to severe weather

UTM also closed, UTSG remains open

UTSC to close campus due to severe weather

UTSC is closing campus at noon due to severe weather.

U of T announced Wednesday morning that all classes and academic activities at UTSC will be cancelled starting 12:00 pm. The whole campus will close for the rest of the day at 2:00 pm.

UTM announced that it was closed due to severe weather earlier today.

UTSG remains open.

UTM closed due to severe weather

UTSG, UTSC remain open

UTM closed due to severe weather

UTM is closed due to severe weather conditions, including freezing rain and ice pellets descending on the GTA.

U of T announced Wednesday morning that all classes, tutorials, labs, tests, meetings and other on-campus activities are cancelled.

UTSG and UTSC remain open.

UTM, UTSC closed for the morning due to weather

UTSG fully open

UTM, UTSC closed for the morning due to weather

Following yesterday’s class cancellations on all three U of T campuses, UTM and UTSC will remain closed for the morning, while UTSG has returned to being fully open.

UTM will be closed until at least 12:00 pm today. All classes, tutorials, labs, tests, and other course-related activities are cancelled. In addition, all university buildings are closed. UTM will post an update by 10:00 am in case the campus does not reopen.

UTSC will be closed until 10:00 am today, after which all academic activities will resume as scheduled. Non-essential staff should report to work when campus opens.

UTSG classes cancelled as of 6:00 pm

Campus will remain open

UTSG classes cancelled as of 6:00 pm

UTSG is cancelling all classes starting at 6:00 pm due to severe weather. However, the campus will remain open.

All classes, labs, tutorials, tests, and other course-related activities on the campus will be cancelled.

An update will be posted by 6:30 am tomorrow.