Lack of preparation causes pandemonium

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • February 9, 2017

At issue: Chaos caused by Pats parade

Our take: The school should not have been open during the parade

Whether it’s the World Series, the Stanley Cup, or the Super Bowl, a Boston win is a Boston parade. And a parade is thousands of people coming into the city, and onto Emerson’s campus. For those of us who live, work, and learn here—this isn’t always pure fun. Students and professors weren’t able to get to class or pay attention once they got there. However, none of this is new.

We know from sports parades in the past that things happen and can go wrong. There is no excuse that the campus wasn’t more prepared. Our prep was emails reminding us to be safe in the face of drunken fans shoving students into the scaffolding and other students, and signs we didn’t have public bathrooms. While these arguably keep students safe in their dorm buildings and classes—it doesn’t really matter when they can’t get inside.

Emerson had the foresight to send emails saying that it would be difficult to get to class, but there was still an expectation to attend. Some professors decided to cancel their classes in anticipation of the challenge it would be for both them and students to get there. Getting to campus was no simple feat: Traffic and full parking lots hindered those who commute by car. Trains were full and heavily delayed—and those who got off at Boylston Street Station couldn’t  cross the street to classroom buildings. Even those who didn’t have to leave the block found it difficult to get around. Sidewalks were packed with drunken, pushy Patriots fans who were definitely not eager to create footpaths. Some of these fans left with stolen student property. And if by some miracle everyone made it to class, the noise from the parade made it too loud for learning.

The time we did spend in class wasn’t actually productive. Not only did we lose learning time, we also lost tuition dollars. One hour of class this semester costs about $87—so $175 for a two hour course, or nearly $350 for a four hour. That money is wasted on classes that didn’t meet or couldn’t focus due to the parade. If the college officially canceled and rescheduled classes during the parade, the money already paid for tuition would have been spent on effective learning, not distracted discussion.

We understand that Emerson is always hesitant to cancel class. Look at how the college reacted in advance of today’s big snowstorm—the community didn’t get that fateful text until around 10p.m., three hours after Boston University, five hours after Suffolk University, and nearly seven hours after Boston Public Schools. The college needs to have a certain amount of hours in a semester, and having to reschedule classes is a pain and a hassle. But it’s not like we’d need to cancel class all day, anyway. Downtown was a mess after the parade, but it was at least navigable by 2p.m. A delay in opening would’ve served the college well.

We’re not trying to diss sports culture or the celebration of victory and community. We know these are integral to the culture of Boston. As a college located in the heart of this city, we can’t complain if we’re involved in some of it’s most important events. But it is Emerson’s responsibility to be prepared for these interruptions, and that includes fostering a safe and educational learning environment.