Rebecca Munday, Staff Writer
For the past four years, classes on the Armstrong campus have been disrupted by hurricanes, first Matthew, then Irma, next Michael, and most recently, Dorian. You would think that our campus administration could handle something that they’ve had so much experience with. However, the handling of Hurricane Dorian and overall hurricane preparedness this semester calls into question their ability to deal with such matters effectively.
Granted those making the decisions now reside in Statesboro, but they should still understand that a campus forty-nine feet above sea level should respond differently to a hurricane than a campus two hundred and fifty-three feet above sea level. So, why in this most recent hurricane, were the campuses treated like they were six minutes apart instead of sixty minutes apart?
Both campuses were closed even when the hurricane only skirted past Savannah and left a little flooding and lost power. Perhaps the argument could be made that the models of the storm were unclear, the Weather Channel did not speak much about how Coastal Georgia would be affected, and if Statesboro had been affected, more people would have been affected. However, that is why the people making those decisions should have been continuing “to closely monitor Hurricane Dorian and weather conditions for the areas in which our campuses are located.” If they had done that as much as they said they would, they would have realized that Statesboro wasn’t going to be hit at all. They only needed to worry about Savannah.
These administrators already had enough trouble making a decision, why inconvenience more people than necessary? First, they couldn’t make a decision until Sunday night on a holiday weekend. It’s not like any students could come back on Monday and get anything when the campus would be closed for the foreseeable future. Then, they could only make a decision for a day or two at a time. Five thousand plus people were waiting for this decision and this was how they choose to handle it.
After the hurricane has passed Dr. Marrero said in an interview with the Inkwell editor-in-chief, Madison Watkins, “Well, we’ll always consider all options…There could be scenarios for weather-related events that only one campus would be closed while others are open.” However, they haven’t made any decisions about what that would look like or when that will actually become university policy. It seems like that is a decision that should have been made before Dorian even happened or at least before the next hurricane hits Coastal Georgia.
Most recently, there is a Folio Bootcamp for Emergency preparedness with a picture of a hurricane on the flyer advertising the workshops. So, it seems the emergency these workshops will be preparing participants for is mainly hurricanes. If that is the case, then why are there two workshops in Statesboro and only one here in Savannah? It seems giving more opportunities to prepare to the landlocked town than to the coastal town is just another way that the university administration mishandled hurricane preparedness this hurricane season. For those who are interested, the one in Savannah will be in Solms Hall room 207 on Sept. 30 from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.