u of t closures

Students angry that University of Toronto didn't call a snow day

Toronto was a vertitable ghost town on Tuesday as blizzard-like conditions whipped through Southern Ontario, closing down offices, stores, public schools, colleges and every university campus in The 6ix—with one notable exception.

Students woke up all over the city to news of a much-welcomed snow day at Ryerson, OCAD, York, George Brown, Seneca, Humber and Centennial, as well as at the University of Toronto's Scarborough and Mississauga campuses.

U of T's St. George campus in downtown Toronto, however, remained open—at least until weather conditions finally forced the cancellation of classes and labs after 4 p.m.

Students were annoyed, to say the least, and not only because they missed out on a "free" day off during midterms.

"We are furious with what the University of Toronto, St. George Campus did today and during every other occasions," said student Tam Tran on Tuesday night. "Despite numerous attempts to notify them about the severe storm incoming today, they refused to announce a campus closure or at least a planned closure."

"This resulted in dangerous conditions for commuters who had little choice if they had an exam or a commitment on campus today," she continued, reflecting the sentiments of a Change.org petition that's now been signed by nearly 3,500 people.

That petition, addressed to U of T Vice President and Provost Cheryl Regehr, demands that the school close in tandem with UTSC and UTM in severe weather.

It further asks that U of T notify all students and staff of any closures prior to 6:30 a.m. "so as to prevent students and staff (especially commuters) from attempting to travel during inclement weather."

University spokesperson Elizabeth Church said in a statement on Wednesday that "the safety of the U of T community is a top priority for the university when making a decision about whether to cancel classes or to close a campus."

"There are thousands of classes, exams, tests, labs, and tutorials on each campus throughout the day," the statement continues. "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."

Church said that differences in geographic location also often lead to decisions that differ between U of T's three GTA campuses.

"We notified our community at noon yesterday that classes that began at 4 or later would be cancelled because of the forecast for worsening weather conditions," she said.

Too little too late, say many students.

"Tell me how is it fair that U of T is putting students in danger by cancelling class at 4pm?" replied one student to the school on Twitter. "What about us who already commute before 4 p.m. and have to double that danger to come back after 4?"

"100%, most classes are finished by 4, while most administrative offices are closed by 4:30," replied another. "Real class act from the administration."

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