Complaints about hurricane ultimately pointless, undermine College staff’s safety

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Graphic credit to Sunny Ahn

If you haven’t noticed, I like to express my opinions about campus life through my many, many posts on “Swampy Memes for Twampy Teens.” But, all jokes aside, I would like to give my thoughts on the hurricane situation that has now happened two years in a row.  

I have seen the posts, both this year and last, totally dunking on Emergency Management Chair Sam Jones for canceling classes. I have also seen the posts generally made six to eight hours prior about how Sam Jones is stupid for not evacuating earlier and how we’re all going to get stuck in the swamp and die from severe weather. As opposed to this common theme, I want to think my memes are more focused on the actual hurricane itself. There will always be a little flavoring of insubordination against the authority figures known as “TribeAlert Systems.” This is my burden to bear. However, this was not my intention. Hurricane Dorian deserves to be bullied for its wishy-washy behavior. 

Sam Jones has a thankless job. His team has to decide how to handle the safety of all of us. And when I say all of us, I mean everyone — faculty and staff included. The people who work here have to spend obscene and odd hours here and have to deal with some pretty rude people on campus. They are just as important as any student. There are more lives at stake than those of students. If you haven’t noticed, throughout any emergency there are still employees here to man dining halls and clean-up crews for campus damages. While we have hurricane parties, they’re working very hard. I was honestly hoping for evacuation so everybody, and I mean everybody, could go home and stay safe. 

It’s easy to laugh and say that Sam Jones was a clown man for canceling school, but are you telling me you didn’t fall asleep Thursday night just a little bit scared? I did. I wanted to cry, like, all night. But I didn’t. I did my reading for class because I’m a good student. It’s easy to say it’s a false alarm now and pin it on him, but are you telling me you would have preferred this to be a disaster? Do you want to die in the swamp, my guy? Do you want mold? No thank you, dude, I’m happy for a rainy day in my dorm with Netflix and my cookie butter.  

It’s also easy for alumni to point and laugh, saying something along these lines: “Look at those loser students, they can’t even handle a hurricane.” To any alumni saying that: stop, listen to yourselves, and take a minute to realize how horrible you sound. Let’s get practical here: climate change is a reality, and climate change makes storms more powerful than ever before. These aren’t the storms you dealt with in your undergraduate years. The storms happening now, hurricanes or blizzards, are never going to be as bad as the ones coming in the next five to ten years. Dorian and Florence may not have been the worst here, but have you noticed the crazy upticks in Category Fives in the past decade? It’s just going to keep getting worse.  

Personally, my one complaint is that if you close the campus, you should allow people to park their cars in whatever lot they want. Aren’t most of these lots reserved for faculty and staff parking? If the faculty and staff are home, why not let us use the lots? While I did not risk parking my car somewhere else, I can imagine the WMPD ticketing cars in the middle of a hurricane. What happens if those tickets blow away in 65 mph winds? I do not know. 

I am a big fan of safety. Nobody has ever regretted staying cautious when we’re talking about a crazy-powerful storm that has tornadoes shooting out of it at every angle and has left thousands of people without power or homes. So to Sam Jones, I say thank you.  

Email Hallie Feinman at hjfeinman@email.wm.edu.