Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

The wrong decision?

We will always remember faux pas from our Alma Mater, but Thursday’s bungled decision by the Crisis Decision Team (CDT) will forever be known to me in my five years at UM as the absolute worst yet.

Let me paint a picture for you: winds blowing at tropical storm force speeds, flash flooding reaching half a foot in the parking lots, tree limbs down all over the roads surrounding campus and more than three inches of rain falling per hour-all before 6:00 p.m., meaning thousands of students were still expected to attend classes. During the early morning hours of Thursday, the entire South Florida area was placed under a hurricane warning; this is not trivial, it means that hurricane force winds are expected within the next 24 hours. But regardless of this fact, the CDT decided that it was still appropriate for students to be traveling on the roads of the greater Miami area, a place being battered by winds and a place where the eye of the storm would pass in no more than three hours. Leaving campus-before the official close time of 6 p.m., mind you-I was battered by squall lines with gusts surpassing hurricane force, surrounded by lightning, wading through ankle-deep water, nd soaked by rain striking nearly horizontally; but of course to the CDT, this is all to be expected, right?

I remember Hurricane Frances last year. This was a storm whose destiny was to confront the University nearly head-on. I remember boarding my windows, sandbagging my doors and officially powering down WVUM and rebroadcasting the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration advisory for all of the concerned community members. As it turns out, these precautions were not needed, as the storm changed course at the last moment and missed us. However, that does not mean that these precautions were taken in vain. When dealing with life and property, any precaution against a system as volatile and dynamic as a hurricane is to be measured and calculated conservatively.

This precautionary philosophy was abandoned by the CDT for Hurricane Katrina. The team saw a hurricane warning and worsening conditions at school, and instead of taking a conservative estimate to protect the well-being of students, it relied too heavily on the unpredictable forecasts from the local weathermen. Well, the National Hurricane Center doesn’t give a cone of unpredictability for nothing! The forecasters are aware, more so than the decision makers at UM, that hurricanes do in fact buck trends and change course from time to time.

It seems as though this would have been a lesson learned from recent hurricanes, such as Frances, which changed course, and Charley, which changed course and even from historic ones such as Andrew, which (need I spell it out?) changed course. Well, this time the CDT decided that it would ignore the hurricane warning issued for Coral Gables and cast the students’ fate to the wind, in a not-so-figurative sense.

Fortunately, at the time of the writing of this letter, no students, faculty or staff were reported injured. But I hope that this storm serves as a reminder to the CDT that when dealing with the cherished lives of students and faculty, it is always better to err on the side of caution, especially in the face of a hurricane warning, no matter the predictions of the local forecasters. Remember: nobody suffers from a false hurricane day, but the same can not necessarily be said for the opposite.

Chris Bennett

Program Director

WVUM 90.5 FM

August 30, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami coach Jim Larranaga and his staff spent recent practices pushing his players to whip the ball ...

The University of Miami confirmed in a written release Sunday that starting cornerback Malek Young s ...

In 2016, the Miami Hurricanes had tight end David Njoku, who went in the first round of the 2017 NFL ...

Four days had passed since his University of Miami basketball team squandered a 13-point second half ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ search for offensive line help is set to continue on the weekend of Jan. 26, w ...

Presidents at three higher education institutions in Miami "lend our unified voices” to the cal ...

Thirty high school English teachers from Brazil are spending six weeks at UM in a new skill-building ...

Global and local efforts needed to respond to biological threats, UM President Julio Frenk warned at ...

As artificial Intelligence takes hold, tech visionary David Kenny stresses keeping human values in t ...

UM’s First Black Graduates Project committee visits an iconic D.C. museum for inspiration to create ...

Bruce Brown Jr. scored 19 points leading Miami to victory over NC State in Raleigh. ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team picked up its third straight win in eight days ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team (1-2) closed out its opening weekend with a 5-2 loss ...

With the help of dominating victories and dramatic comebacks, No. 19 Miami finished the day with an ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team (1-1) returns to action on Sunday, as it travels to N ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.