Nova Scotia

SMU students vent over school's decision to stay open amid storm

Saint Mary's University's decision to stay open during a snow and ice storm — despite a police advisory to stay off the roads — drew the ire of students on social media.

Students point to Halifax Regional Police warning for people to stay off the roads

Plenty of schools and businesses in Nova Scotia decided to close on Monday because of a winter storm, but not Saint Mary's University in Halifax.

Just before 11:30 a.m., the school tweeted campus would remain open. Many students were quick to vent their frustration because Halifax Regional Police advised drivers to stay off the roads.

"The university made the decision to stay open," Cale Loney, a spokesperson for Saint Mary's told CBC News in an email. "Students with concerns regarding missed classes are encouraged to contact their professors."

Ossama Nasrallah, president and CEO of Saint Mary's University Students' Association, told CBC News he's disappointed in the school's decision to stay open. 

"We have been in constant communication with the university to express our students' concerns for their safety getting to and leaving campus," Nasrallah said in an email. 

Here's what the students had to stay on Twitter:

Saint Mary's University wasn't the only campus that decided to remain open on Monday.

Mount Saint Vincent University kept its doors open too.

There were 222 classes scheduled at MSVU for Monday; 47 of those classes were cancelled and 14 were moved online.

Gillian Batten, a spokesperson for MSVU, told CBC News in an email the school takes a number of factors into consideration when it comes to closing for the day, including:

  • Weather conditions.
  • Availability of public transit.
  • Ability to access, maintain and use the campus safely.
  • Ability of emergency services to access the campus.
  • Disadvantages of sending campus visitors back into the weather once they've arrived.

Batten said Monday's weather forecast called for improving weather conditions.

She said students who don't feel comfortable traveling to campus should touch base with their professors to make them aware.

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