As if there were not enough sources already telling us Monday should have been a holiday — meteorologists, the federal government and union members, among others — at the crack of dawn yesterday morning came a message from “Susan B. Hockfield,” our beneficent Internet alter-provost. Defying the law, tradition and the provost’s job description, the imposter claimed to have cancelled classes in a 7:15 a.m. e-mail to the entire student body. The fake chief academic and financial officer went on to declare her thrill at being able to treat Yalies to this “rare gift” and encouraged all of us to “bundle up and be safe.”
If you fell for it, you are just one of many wishful thinkers duped into believing the Yale administration would break with its policy of holding class every day in any event except for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. University Secretary Linda Lorimer put the glee to rest and the resting to work with an e-mail notifying students it was all a hoax, about an hour and a half after the mysterious first letter went out. So while most of the Eastern seaboard stayed home for the Presidents Day blizzard, Yalies went to class.
All day, as we made our way through the unshovelled Cross Campus walkways to our uncancelled lectures and labs, we could not help but think that maybe the real Lorimer had been unrealistic and the fake Hockfield had gotten it right after all. But thick-blooded Connecticut Yalies at heart, we survived the snow without a snow day. As it turns out, it is in the inclement weather that Yale finds its latent toughness — our rubber-booted, North Face-parka machismo within. Sure, some carved out anatomically correct snow-women on University benches, carried umbrellas to protect their coats and their sneakers, or pretended to be administrators to win a day off. But find the brave clutches of students who climbed Science Hill first thing in the morning: there is the grit of the Yale undergraduate.
Meanwhile, Au Bon Pain closed early Monday, as did Cross Campus Library and the University of Pennsylvania. Given free discretion to cancel classes, many professors risked syllabus havoc rather than endure the treacherous driving or walking conditions. The city of New Haven, without much extra cash to pay holiday wages, was unable to clear promptly the nearly 18 inches of snow that fell in an 18-hour period beginning late Sunday night, despite 30 snowplows assigned to the task. So many streets and public sidewalks remained buried for most of the day, as they seem to do with most snow storms, as if winter is an anomaly each year and weather fronts a complete surprise.
But for the rugged Yalie, plowing through the workday more determinedly than ever, this nor’easter was just another reason to study for midterms or some more time to watch teasers of the “Joe Millionaire” finale. Sure, an e-mail-sanctioned long weekend might have been nice — it might even have been appropriate — but no matter the weather, Yalies will never need a snow day. It is a good thing, too, because it seems we will never have one.