Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 8:01 pm

Dear Editor, 

I want to voice my opinion on the University of Tennessee at Martin and a university representative’s lack of professional judgment and the disregard to student safety on Feb. 7, 2011. 

I had woken up that morning to snow on the ground and droves more falling down as I prepared to go to class. Wondering if school had been canceled I opened up the UTM webpage to see no information. 

I called the UTM operator to inquire if classes had been canceled and he reported back that the determination had not been made yet. On my way to campus from McKenzie, I passed two UTM commuters who had run off and become stuck in the median. 

As I made it to Dresden my truck hit snow and ice and threw me into a guardrail causing damage to my vehicle throwing me into oncoming traffic. I determined that attempting to get to class was more dangerous than necessary and decided to turn around and return home. 

On the way back, I stopped to pull out one of the UTM commuter vehicles I passed earlier (a female UTM athlete). 

I could not help but wonder what was keeping UTM open with such dangerous driving conditions. So on my way back to McKenzie I called at 11:20 a.m. and spoke to a university representative and inquired what the criteria were for the determination of canceling classes. 

This person told me that he had looked at data from local roads in the area and believed that traffic would be slower, but yet the road conditions were safe enough for students and faculty to drive to campus. 

I informed this person that three UTM students had already been involved in accidents between McKenzie and Dresden alone. 

He said that he would “note the information” not bothering to inquire if any of us had been hurt. 

As of 12:29 p.m., no determination to close the Martin campus had been made, however classes at the Jackson and Ripley campuses had been canceled. 

I cannot help but question the ability of this representative to have the student’s best interest and most of all, personal safety in mind, when decisions like these are made. 

I must say that I am truly disappointed in the UTM leadership from the top down. 

At 3:11 p.m. I received a text message from the automated campus messaging system informing me that all classes after 5 p.m. had been canceled, by this time, most all the major roads had been cleaned and ready to drive safely on. 

I consider this an epic failure of responsibility upon the University of Tennessee at Martin.


David K. Hochreiter



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