A blizzard of coverage

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By Kenny Yum

Weather warning: Due to last week’s snow storm, our scheduled editorial will be delayed as Eyeopener work crews slave away to clear our desks of the accumulation of newsprint dedicated to the subject of snow that has clogged our offices. We’ll add a few more inches to the pile with our thorough coverage.

I’m sure that many people smiled on Wednesday when they heard that Mayor Mel refused to close the city. His tanned personality aside, his challenge to Mother Nature had as much rationality to it as a five hour commute to Ryerson from Scarborough.

But it happened.

That is, the city was pretty much at the mercy of a mass of moisture, that heavy blanket of defeat that crystalized when it hit your driveway — one you shouldn’t have left on Wednesday, Thursday, hell, even Friday.

And yes, we’ve heard the commuter horror stories that we thought were stuff of urban folklore come true — a five hour commute from Scarborough or a three hour trek from Brampton (we can use word “trek,” I checked the proper dictionary definition: n. long hard journey, especially on foot).

At The Eyeopener on Thursday afternoon, while watching the campus empty, we wondered why the school was open in the first place.

On Wednesday, the day when most of the city was experiencing travel chaos, students made their way onto campus. A journalism professor I bumped into had walked down from St. Clair in a gallant effort to teach her class. Unfortunately, most instructors seemed to be missing as evidenced by the growing number of my staff who piled into The Eyeopener offices, announcing the cancellation of their classes.


Ryerson’s decision to remain open on Wednesday — which didn’t matter as students left early to make the three to five hour trip back home — is baffling. Its call to open school for Thursday was just idiotic.

The students that did make it into Ryerson on Thursday looked utterly lost, wandering their way through Jorgenson Hall, of course unwilling to go back into commuter hell from which they emerged. Like watching a bad movie on a sweltering day. You hate to be there but it’s worse outside. By 1 p.m., Ryerson was a ghost town.


As we were poring through our back issues to get some history on other school closures we found an issue dated Jan. 13, 1977 when the snowfall topped 29 centimetres. (Scary how it’s 21 years to the day of our latest issue). “Ryerson was one of the last schools to announce classes were cancelled,” an article read. Walter Pitman, president at the time, wanted to see the conditions before closing the school at 8:30 a.m.

At least they are consistently late.

So Ryerson administrators, remember this next time: This is a commuter school.

Simple logic follows:

  • Lots of snow = hell for commuters
  • Hell for commuters = they probably won’t get to downtown
  • They probably won’t get downtown = maybe no one will make it to school
  • Maybe no one will make it to school = uh… hmm… give me a few seconds to think it over…

Just to prove that we’re not prone to writing criticisms of the school, we’ll say that despite admin’s Thursday foul up, the recent snowfall has brought out the best in Ryerson’s maintenance staff. In fact, they do a remarkable job in keeping our campus free of snow. By 5 a.m., all the major pathways are cleared of snow, a relief for those who walked a city street recently.


And to be totally self congratulatory — hey, we’re allowed that once in a while — we can boast to be the only student organization that withstood the storm to be open every day in the past week. A few intrepid staffers decided to chronicle the shutdown for you, the dear reader, which involved roaming around campus at 4 a.m. to find that, yes, indeed, the school was closed.


When does snow become slush? E-mail your interpretation to us at eyeopenr@acs.ryerson.ca


And that ends our delay in editorial coverage.

Next week, service will resume when you will be able to read this space for more insightful prose. Now I can stop shoveling.

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