Local News

UNC Students Upset By Early Resumption Of Classes

Posted January 28, 2004

— Complaints almost outnumbered slick spots Tuesday on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

Even though most of the Triangle's roadways and sidewalks were coated with ice, and even though many businesses, high schools and universities in the area were closed, classes resumed at UNC at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

School officials deemed it safe to return to campus. But, as student Chris Balga found out, some spots were better than others.

Balga slipped on campus and hurt his ankle -- reinforcing his belief that Tuesday's classes should have been canceled.

"I was very upset that we would have to have class and endanger ourselves when the governor himself came on TV and said to stay at home and off the roadways because they are not ready to be used yet," Balga said Wednesday.

Maj. Jeff McCracken, of campus public safety, said the grounds department worked aggressively to clear sidewalks from Sunday on.

"Most of them were passable yesterday," McCracken said Wednesday, and "we felt it was safe to have people come in at 11 o'clock. It was a joint decision made by university officials."

McCracken said he and the public safety chief personally walked the campus Tuesday to check the conditions. They also considered that the Chapel Hill Transit bus service had begun running at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Nevertheless, student Crystal Hayes asked: "What's the rush?

"I mean, too many things could have happened," Hayes said.

There were no traffic accidents reported on campus, and UNC's Student Health Service treated five minor weather-related injuries.

"We had one student who fell and hurt his wrist," said Student Health Service physician Dr. Bob Wirag. "Another rolled over an ankle."

Though the number of weather-related injuries was not high, until the slick stuff melts, everyone is urged to watch their step on campus.

People also are being told to watch out for falling snow and ice from the tops of campus buildings.

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