"When I was your age, I had to walk uphill both ways in 10 feet of snow with no shoes!"
I’ve started to feel like a little old lady about all this cold weather and cancelled school.
I guess when you get to a certain age, you know that no matter the weather, life doesn’t stop.
Unfortunately, the students at our sister school, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), haven’t yet learned this bit of adult-life knowledge.
In fact, many students showed their rears by taking to Twitter with their rage at the lack of school cancelations for U of I campuses on Monday, Jan. 27.
Their frustrations were warranted. The average wind chill in Champaign that day was -14 degrees. Several area schools were closed, including the public school district. However, the university decided to stay open and have class as scheduled.
Many students took their frustration out on UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise via Twitter, simply because she was the poor soul who sent the mass email encouraging students to bundle up on the way to class Monday.
The hashtag of a profanity and Wise’s first name soon bombarded students’ comments about the injustices they were suffering by being told to go to class. Though the hashtag itself shows the immaturity of UIUC students, their descent into degradation through the use of sexist, racist and downright cruel taunts made me ashamed to even be linked to them through the University of Illinois name.
While there were several alum and current students who tried to defend not only Chancel- lor Wise, but the U of I for its decision to have class, the damage was done. Once mean and hateful things are said, they cannot be unspoken. This is especially true for anything posted on the Internet.
Personally, I think anyone who posted such drivel should be charged with a hate crime. Unfortunately, the laws have yet to keep up with the Internet, and although a good cause, I’m not sure the public prosecutors would want to waste their precious time on a bunch of snotnosed brats.
That being said, I do have some advice for my fellow U of I students who had such objections to attending class in the cold.
SUCK IT UP!!! Put on a coat, hat and gloves, mumble bitterly about the cold to yourself, and go to class!
College is a stepping stone for young adults before heading out in to the real world. Well, NEWS FLASH, most employers don’t cancel work just because it is cold. Even in some of the worst weather, you are expected to attempt to make it to work.
If preparing for the future isn’t enough to make you change your attitude about attending class, think about the money you’ve just wasted by not attending class. This isn’t high school. They don’t tack inclement weather days to the end of the semester. If class is missed, it is just missed, even though you already paid for it. Your payment for that class time is just lost.
Added to the lost money, you are still expected to learn the material that was meant to be taught that day. Whether you have all 15 class sessions or 10 out of 15, the class still has to make it through the syllabus. I’ve been in college for a while now, spanning four different institutions, I have never seen a teacher take material off of the syllabus because of a cancelled class.
Still not a good enough case for attending class despite the frigid temperatures? Then skip. We all know we’ve skipped class for far less – a hangover, a concert, or simply managing your time poorly and going to bed too late.
The joy of growing up and having more responsibilities is that you have to right to make decisions like skipping class. However, you also have to live with the consequences of your actions.
Luckily for the UIUC students who chose to post such vulgar comments on Twitter, the U of I has decided against any disciplinary actions. However, that does not mean there will be no consequences.
The Chicago Tribune has picked up the story and while they declined to print the Twitter handles of the offenders, several other news sites and blogs have. BuzzFeed even went so far as publishing the photos attached to negative tweets.
According to Robin Kaler, UIUC’s spokeswoman, the lack of disciplinary action from either the university or the police stems from the fact that this is “a free speech issue.”
While this is a term Kaler used and not the offenders, I abhor when people stand behind freedom of speech to spew ignorance and hate. That is exactly what these students did. They hid behind their keyboards, and now the First Amendment, saying whatever hurtful and hateful thing they could think of because they thought it was too cold to go to class.
The statements made by these students do not represent the entirety of the University of Illinois student body. However, this small handful of students has shamed the entire U of I community with their hateful tweets.
Maybe the suggestion one blogger had is headed in the right direction. The UIUC students involved should be required to take a “remedial humanity” course before graduation.
I think we should take that a bit further and make it a requirement for all college students. Heck, catch them young and start in high school. It may seem like punishing many for the crimes of few, but it never hurts to add a little culture and perspective to everyone’s lives.