When such a horrific tragedy stopped the rest of the world in its tracks, I was embarrassed to see it had little or no effect on our administration’s decision to continue with classes.
The chancellor’s statement about the tragedy indicated that classes would continue because there were no apparent safety concerns. But safety is not the issue. Canceling classes serves as a way for students to mourn in a respectful manner. Unfortunately, we sent the message that we could not take time, even one day, out of our busy schedules to grieve with the rest of the nation.
I then read that UW has changed its reasoning for continuing with classes, saying it was an act of goodwill. They claimed that in going to classes, students and faculty could talk and discuss how they were feeling about Tuesday’s events.
Yet in a majority of classes the subject was touched upon briefly and then the regular lesson plan was attended to. I was shocked to find, in my political science class of all places, my professor refused to spend more than two minutes on the issue. She claimed she had a job to do, and we as students also had a job to sit and learn the material.
It was such an unsettling misuse of our time. What could have been perhaps a comforting, calming discussion, just passed by as a sad, missed opportunity. Classes on Tuesday did not comfort. Instead, classes kept students away from televisions, radios and telephones where they could be kept up-to-date on the situation. More importantly, classes kept students away from their friends who serve as pseudo-families.
This week I am ashamed to say that I attend UW, which in all its arrogance could not cancel classes for one day of tragedy.