Northwestern orders more shuttles as campus remains open


Daily file photo by Brian Lee

A student walks home in the snow on a Sunday night in 2014. Northwestern will be closed again this week from Tuesday to Thursday.

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

Despite low temperatures, Northwestern decided to hold classes Monday after NU’s top officials reviewed the University’s status Sunday evening and decided it was safe to open.

The decision to close campus is based on many factors, and there is no specific temperature which would automatically force a cancellation, University spokesman Al Cubbage said.

“The walks are in good shape,” he said. “The buildings are all heated okay. The shuttle buses are running. The university is in good shape, and we felt it was appropriate to open.”

Chicago Public Schools, Evanston Township High School and Evanston/Skokie School District 65 were all closed Monday and will remain closed Tuesday. However, Cubbage said NU’s protocol for canceling classes differs from that of K-12 schools.

“It’s a very residential place,” he said. “Most of our students live on campus or within a half-mile of campus.”

Dan McAleer, Deputy Chief of University Police, said NU rarely closes due to weather conditions.

“Some of the factors that caused us to close back in early January included that we were on the first day of the quarter, and there were a lot of transportation issues with folks getting back,” he said.

Weinberg freshman Isabel Robertson said she got frostbite on her ear last Thursday when walking from North Campus to South Campus without a hat. When Robertson went to Health Services on Friday morning, she said the doctor did not seem surprised she had frostbite.

Robertson said she was concerned when she heard the University would remain open Monday.

“It bothered me a little bit considering I got frostbite at the warmer part of the week and now it’s like 20 or 30 degrees colder than that,” she said.

In addition to both Frostbite shuttles running, the University ordered additional shuttle buses to service the Campus Loop, Evanston Loop and both Frostbite shuttles. Cubbage said the new buses would double the frequency of shuttles.

“That is a way of getting some initial resources given the cold,” he said.

He told The Daily in an email student input is “always” considered when making student life decisions.

Haley Hinkle, ASG director of transportation initiatives, said she was not aware of the additional shuttles prior to the University’s emails announcing them.

“It was news to me as it was to everyone else,” she said. “As far as I know, that decision was made without talking to ASG representatives.”

Hinkle heard mixed reviews of the shuttles’ efficiency. While some students benefitted from the shuttles, others were stranded and had to walk to class, she said.

“I heard that there was some glitches in the system kind of getting the shuttles around, which part of that is to be expected a little bit with how many they were adding and trying to get everything out there and organized,” the Medill sophomore said. “But, unfortunately, some students were still left waiting.”

Hinkle co-authored a Letter to the Editor with other ASG officials Sunday night in which they expressed concern with NU’s reliance on the Frostbite shuttles. She said ASG’s goal is to get the University to plan ahead of time to have extra shuttles in the winter.

“Chicago weather can just be really hard to get around in on campus,” she said. “Our hope would be that the University would really take the time to put the financial resources and the planning into place so that this wouldn’t all have to happen last minute in an extreme event like this.”

Ally Mutnick contributed reporting.

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