Universities Snowed In Under a Roof of Moral Hazard

This weekend, a Jonas graced the East Coast that did quite the opposite of “Burning Up”. Unfortunately, some Universities don’t have concern for the storm or the puns it provoked.

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While elementary and high schools received “the call” liberating them from their icy institutions, college students were sitting ducks entirely off the radar. Some universities considered the travel circumstances of students and cancelled classes. However, some decided to hold classes – leaving absences to the student’s discretion.

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Having the “choice” to skip class was enough for Universities to skate by on this thin ice. However, students pay mammoth amounts of money for an education in the form of usually mandatory class sessions. So, the student has a mandated two choices – dangerously brave treacherous roads to not be left behind, or practice safety while missing class material.

 

Students raged on Twitter to their University the night prior to the school day at large.

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The students harvested decent talking points from the depths of their moral consciences. The connection between University and Student (or lack thereof) was exploited by those victimized.

I am not logically in favor of days off from school. It’s important to abide to a work-styled schedule and learn diligence as opposed to shirking priorities as one’s subpar and unmotivated prerogative. However, if there is going to be a predicament in which a large number of students cannot physically attend school, the meritocracy, which rewards diligence and self-safety-awareness, fades.

Regardless, the University opened school the following morning and was battered with many of the predicted complaints. Sidewalks were not cleared, streets were poorly plowed, and many students found trouble traversing campus without ice skates.

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Parking lot apocalypses held true to the assumption that Universities show bias for residents over commuters. Many accuse universities of purposefully neglecting the needs of the commuters with hopes that they will fill their fat cat bellies with larger sums of money as future residents. This is and will continue to be the crux of the snow day dilemma – with no visible solution.

Today, commuters on one half of campus traversed 3 floors to find a one-way death trap of ice and snow. With no alternatives, students performed acrobatic driving techniques in an effort to make U-turns. Only those with eyes in the backs of their heads escaped with no issues. Others tweeted about their dismal treks to class, decorated with pictures depicting the hazards ignored by the university.

 

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At the end of the day, everyone survived with the option they chose. And that’s what matters to the University. For those in charge, it would seem troublesome to consider injury liability and endless complaints on a possible day off. However, today’s school day proved that, beyond the complications of hosting normal university operations on an abnormal and dangerous day, Universities have a strict agenda.

 

If queried about the functional existence of Universities, I would respond with the simple answer of “money as the motive”. Most things exist to make money: media, sports, medical practices, etc. Some exist for recreation, while others reap monetary benefits from life’s necessities. Education fits the mold of the latter.

Morally, universities should accommodate all of their students. However, most of us aren’t in the position to make executive decisions in a university. So, we don’t know their motives. But, with an agenda to make money, the university will prioritize such behavior.

An entire day of a closed campus is an entire day of revenue lost in lack of circulation. Teachers aren’t paid on the hour of every day, so the University can only lose money on a day that teachers don’t teach. Other services, such as food distribution, lose a whole day of business due to mandated campus closure. These petty revenue grabs would be outweighed and ignored if there were a larger goal to achieve by closing school, but there simply isn’t.

Of all the days in a school year, snow creates a detriment on an infinitesimal amount of them. Such rarity only calls for one or two situations like these per year – entirely outweighed by evergreen benefits of the University. There’s nary a chance that a student will be within their rights to abandon their tuition as recompense for the misconduct of a snowy day. With the same logic, it’s unlikely for a hurtful amount of students to withdraw from the university for this rare but annual behavior.

It’s not a fault of Capitalism; rather, it’s a fault of insufficient grounds for rejecting moral hazards. Realistically, the university should seek to greatly please its constituents to maintain their patronage and encourage more in the future. It does do this in several long-term ways, as a result of capitalism forcing universities to compete and enhance the content of education. However, the once a year nitpicks of slippery pavements and glaciers occupying parking spots are not a hindrance to the net worth of a university. Contrary on the same logic, universities should grant the day off considering one measly day as one not worth fighting over. But, as we saw today, money is money.

 

This could be an exacerbation of a miniscule but truth-rooted conspiracy among universities, or it could be the one article that fat cats want to keep off the streets. One thing is certain: bumps on the road are not large enough to warrant rejection of moral hazard. Inherently, this is moral hazard supporting the grounds of another’s moral hazards – a vicious cycle that won’t end until it’s realized as a hazard too large to morally ignore.

 

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-MI


 

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