Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Motor City Mitch Uses Some Down Time to Write Some Snowy Letters.

Dear Campus Response Team,

Next time you plan to close the college at noon when the weather is clearly horrible and everyone knows it's coming, please send your closure notice before I second-guess myself, get in my car, and take 45 minutes to make what is normally only a 25 minute drive to campus. Do you have any idea how pissed I was to find that you'd sent that email while I was probably still in my garage? I screwed around for as long as I could stand it while I was waiting for that email -- I even graded a few papers while I was stalling! -- and you just had to wait until you knew I was out the door.


Dear Student,

When the college announces that it is closing the campus at noon due to inclement weather, I will not be in my office during my afternoon office hours. I will even send you a courtesy email to tell you what you ought to figure out on your own. I will do this because experience has taught me that, sadly, you are not smart enough to figure it out on your own. Yes, I realize you have a paper due in three days, and yes, I realize that you might have been planning to stop by, but it is not appropriate to send me a bitchy email about how I am not meeting my obligations to students "right" before a deadline.

I would like to explain something to you. When the college is closed, it means that I don't have to be there -- in fact, the college's closure notice encouraged me NOT to be there. When McDonald's is closed, can you go through the drive through and come out with a Big Mac? No, you cannot. When the mall is closed, can you wander from Abercrombie to Hollister to Banana Republic with your bff? No, you cannot. When the library is closed, can you head over to the video section to rent Scary Movie XXVII? No, you cannot. So when the college is closed, why on earth would your brain tell you it's logical to expect the same services you receive when the college is open?

Here's the real kicker about your snide little email. Unlike McDonald's and the mall and the library, I actually do provide limited services during closure. For example...I respond to email. In fact, I even sent my students -- including you -- an email saying that I wouldn't be in my office due to the campus closure. Then I offered to answer questions and look at paper drafts via email. (If you don't check your campus email because you prefer to correspond solely via Hotmail, that's not my failure. I did what I could.) I think it's pretty nice of me to piss away my snow day for your benefit, especially since your paper isn't even due for another three days.

So please don't give me the business for not being in my office when the campus is closed. It just makes me ornery, which does not bode well for you and your paper grade. Do you really expect me to stay at school when the campus response team has deemed that it would be unsafe for me to be there? Do you really think I should sit in my office for an extra 3.5 hours during a blizzard so that I can drive on roads that are in even poorer condition than they were in when the response team decided they were bad enough to force closure? Maybe this makes me a bad person, but I don't think that helping you with your paper in person is a pressing enough concern that I ought to risk my life for it.

I know you don't think the weather is that bad, but they didn't close the campus because it would be dangerous for you to be outside for the 90 seconds it takes you to get from your dorm to the classroom. They closed the campus because the commuter students come from Suburb A (30 minute drive), Suburb B (45 minute drive), and Suburb C (1 hour drive). They canceled because the professors and staff come from City A (60 minute drive), City B (60 minute drive), and City C (60 minute drive). The campus response team was not worried about you and your commute from Beer Pong Dormitory to ADHD Hall. They were worried about me and my 25-minute-turned-45-minute drive...and I just live in town. A lot of my colleagues, and a lot of your classmates, do not. So shut up, email me your paper, and cry about it.