March 7, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Snowstorm reveals Univ. priorities

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To the Editor:

Re: “Staff Lament Policy for Snowstorm,” News, March 5

I appreciated the article about the frustration that University service staff felt about coming to work during the Feb. 26 snowstorm. While I feel that Cornell’s inclement weather policy is indeed generous on paper, Cornell University officials made a huge mistake in their handling of the closing.

Officials closed the university from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. But many service staff report to work by 5 a.m. or even earlier! Dozens if not hundreds of University service staff woke up at 4 a.m. and called the weather hotline only to hear a message that the University would be open as usual. Those employees had to shovel a foot and a half of snow and then drive in dark and treacherous conditions to get to work on time. Cornell should give them inclement weather pay from the beginning of their shifts, not just from 6:30 to 9:30am.

The fact that officials closed the university from 6:30 to 9:30 rather than before their service staff arrived sent a clear message: Cornell University values its faculty and office and administrative staff more than its service workers. There is no excuse for waiting until 6:30 to close the university.

Anonymous, University service staffer