Snow brings slippery start to spring semester

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Photo by: Aaron Gotter

Snow and ice, unusual weather for the Pee Dee, covered the ground Jan. 10 and delayed the start of FMU’s spring semester classes.

Leah Haselden, Staff Writer

The start of the 2011 spring semester at Francis Marion University was delayed due to winter weather that is uncommon for the Florence area.

Snow started falling very early in the morning on Monday, Jan. 10, and it laid down a white blanket all over Florence and the surrounding areas. Classes at FMU were set to start the following day, but the freezing temperatures kept the snow on the ground and a sheet of ice over much of the roadways. This made driving conditions too dangerous for off-campus students, faculty, and staff to drive to FMU in order to start classes Jan. 11. The start of classes was delayed by two hours Jan. 12 in order to allow extra time for the ice on the roadways to thaw.

Most students said that they had no problem with the extra day, or in some cases days, of Winter Break.

Caroline Jowers, an FMU senior, was thankful that the university closed because she felt that it was not safe for her to drive from her home in Camden, S.C.

“We had seven inches and a layer of ice on top of that,” Jowers said. “Even after a week we were still scraping ice off of our driveway. The snow was a nice surprise, but I am ready for summer time.”

Jowers also added that she thought it was nice to have one extra day of relaxation and a chance to collect her thoughts about the upcoming semester.

FMU junior Brittany Campbell was also thankful for the cancellation.

“I’m from Atlanta, and we got at least six inches of snow,” Campbell said.  “I did not think that I was even going to make it to campus Tuesday night.  I think the whole first week should not have counted because of all the dysfunction.”

Kayla Denmyer, a senior soccer player from New Freedom, Pa., did not see why the snow was such a big deal.

“I was happy, but I was surprised that everything shut down,” Denmyer said. “I see way more snow all the time.”

Denmyer’s travel plans were not affected since she was already here before the snow fell.  However, her boyfriend’s flight back home was cancelled for two days, and he ended up having to take the train back to Pennsylvania.

Some students were not as excited about the extra day because they were ready to get the first day of classes over with, but Chase Hooks, a senior at FMU, was disappointed for a different reason.

“I was actually slightly saddened because my Xbox Live ran out,” Hooks said.

One might think that all of the professors would be disappointed as well, but Dr. Ed Eleazer from FMU’s English Department said that he did not care either way.

“I never really know what I am doing to begin with, so it did not really matter,” Eleazer said.

Due to the unexpected weather, professors were forced to adjust their syllabi to account for the missed day of classes. Students and professors alike have expressed their hopes that things will fall into a steady pace soon.

FMU students, faculty and staff were not the only ones affected by the unexpected weather. Surrounding area schools and businesses also shut down for a couple of days since local residents are not used to the winter weather and its affect on the roadways.

To help make traveling safer, the South Carolina Department of Transportation worked to put down plenty of salt and sand on the roads.