Dear Harvard: Quit Playin' with the Weather Updates

The email we should have received.
The email we should have received. By Courtesy of Julie Ngauv

Dear Harvard Officials and Authors of the Winter Weather Alerts,

Since mid-day yesterday, you have made it your mission to toy with our fragile emotions, issuing a series of mixed-message emails regarding the winter weather and class schedules. In the first email you sent, which rolled in around 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon, you admitted we could be getting up to 14 inches of snow and hit us with the cautious promise to “continue to monitor the development of this weather event.” We smugly smiled, thinking you were coyly playing hard-to-get but that your hyperbolic reference to the storm as a “weather EVENT” belied your true intention: to do us all a solid and cancel class.

At 9:30 p.m., as weather forecasts had not magically reversed, you reinforced the snowfall statistic and mentioned the likely impact of such downpour on morning and afternoon commutes. With such an ominous opener, we had faith. Yet much to our horror, the bolded text of your e-mail announced not a closure of the hallowed lecture halls, but of “the University’s Administrative Offices.” Would we actually have to start that pset we’d been putting off? Dust off that textbook sitting on our desks? Our class cancellation fate was yet to be decided and no, we were in no way reassured by your cryptic yoda-like exhortation to “be guided by [our] School leadership,” whatever the hell that meant.

Why did you keep our hopeful hearts in suspense for twenty-two more minutes only to circulate the Scrooge-like subject line “FAS Open, Classes as Scheduled” at 9:52 p.m.? And no, dropping in a “we understand that travel is expected to be difficult” did not soothe our betrayed souls, nor change the fact that travel is difficult in 14 inches of snow. While you did give faculty the chance to notify their supervisors if they simply couldn’t make it, you did not grant the same “latitude” to the poor Quadded students, or Freshmen that couldn’t snag a pair of Bean Boots this season.

While some of our sensible professors, to their credit, had the great sapience to cancel class and relieve us, some of us weren’t so lucky. We were amused to find the Harvard registrar has a Tumblr, but immediately disappointed if our classes weren’t on the cancelled list (and by his lack of aesthetic).

Our trust has been shattered. As of noon today, with conditions “deteriorating,” you again revised your stance, now encouraging “members of the community who have not yet started their commute to campus to please stay at home.” Okay, just because you asked nicely--and totally not because we planned on skipping class already--we’ll stay in bed.


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