The College’s Inaction toward Hurricane Irma Speaks Volumes

I understand President McConnell’s inaction in addressing Hurricane Irma. After all, it costs a lot of time and money to cancel classes and shut the College down. In that aspect, waiting on Governor McMaster to call for an evacuation makes perfect sense – best to keep things running smoothly until the government literally commands you otherwise. That is the dilemma a lot of businesses face.

But who among us considers the College a business?

I am here to take part in this institution’s great tradition of learning. Professors are here to impart knowledge. Together, we meet in classrooms to solve problems, discuss important issues and grow as a community. While administration may think of the College as a business, it makes a living selling itself as an institution of learning.

This is the distinction causing student outrage toward the College’s inaction to Hurricane Irma. We are in a “state of emergency,” as the “College of Charleston Emergency Management Team” put it in the Cougar Alert sent Wednesday Sept. 6 at 2:30 p.m. A state of emergency, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries is, “A situation of national danger or disaster in which a government suspends normal constitutional procedures in order to regain control.” This means the government has no control over the situation. Meanwhile, the College defines it as “a procedural declaration,” and is to “remain on its normal business schedule.” The word “business” seems to smack you in the face there when you look at the big picture. A business only has one thing to consider: money. An institution of learning, however, recognizes that the act of learning is a nuanced process, easily affected and to be placed above all else. A residential college recognizes the primacy of the safety of its students, faculty and staff.

The Cougar Alert sent Wednesday Sept. 6 at 2:30 p.m. addressing Governor McMaster’s declaration of a state of emergency.

The redundant Cougar Alert reminding students that “the College remains on its normal business schedule.”

I can tell you one thing: since Governor McMaster called for a state of emergency, there has been close to zero learning actualized on campus. Even critics of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs do not argue the bottom two levels of his pyramid, which outline the human needs that must be met before anything else can be accomplished: physiological needs (i.e., shelter) and safety. While students are sitting in lectures pretending to take notes, they are actually addressing those basic human needs as outlined by Maslow. How can any problems be solved, any important issues be discussed or any growth occur when all students can think about are how they will get off the peninsula, where they will go and what will happen to their homes and apartments when the storm actually hits. When Hurricane Matthew hit last year, the Charleston International Airport was already closed by the time the College canceled classes. If we wait until an evacuation is called, chances are flights will be hard to come by yet again. Has President McConnell considered the students who need to fly home to safety? Has he considered the increase in traffic congestion that will be caused by delaying?

I guess the real question is, how can the College expect to remain a respectable institution of learning when the administration takes for granted not only learning itself, but the safety and basic needs of its students? But as I said, a business only has one thing to consider.


CORRECTION: An earlier post stated that no flights were departing CHS Thursday Sept. 7 after 1 pm. THAT ONLY PERTAINS TO ONE AIRLINE. Other flights are leaving today. Please continue to check the Charleston International Airport website if you need to fly home. Correction made Thursday Sept. 7 at 9:30 a.m.

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Bradley Harrison is a senior at College of Charleston. After a long and painful stint as an engineering student at a university in Georgia which you probably have never heard of, he has decided to come back home to his native Charleston and study Spanish and Education. As a keen observer of pop culture, he loves art house cinema,, and the Ringer. FOH Army for life.

'The College’s Inaction toward Hurricane Irma Speaks Volumes' have 6 comments

  1. September 7, 2017 @ 12:51 am Scott Larson

    Where did you see that “There are no more flights out of Charleston after 1 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 7”? I booked a flight home to Boston today, for 5pm on Friday september 8th.. and there were 2 other flights available earlier in the day. Not to mention 3 flights on saturday and Sunday. And that is to BOSTON, which typically only has one direct flight per day year-round. Jet Blue came out yesterday and said they’d be offering $99 flights to all areas that will be evacuating due to the hurricane. Either you blatantly made that up or were misinformed and put zero effort into finding out the truth.

    Anyway, besides that fact, it would only cost us (the students) time and money if classes are cancelled, not the school. How would it cost the school any money? We’re the ones that would be forced to miss class time that we’ve paid for (through our tuition) and deserve, unless it’s absolutely necessary to cancel. Last I checked, the storm might hit Charleston, and if it did, it’d be on Monday.

    Google dictionaries defines “hack” as “a writer or journalist producing dull, unoriginal work.” Donald Trump defines it as “CNN”. I define it as Bradley Harrison.


    • September 8, 2017 @ 4:41 pm Melanie Ropp

      “Google dictionaries defines “hack” as “a writer or journalist producing dull, unoriginal work.” Donald Trump defines it as “CNN”. I define it as Bradley Harrison.”


    • September 8, 2017 @ 9:56 pm HDP



  2. September 7, 2017 @ 3:46 pm Katie

    The College goes off the same schedule that as all CCSD schools. Its a public College so it meets with city officials, just the same as every elementary, middle, and high school in the district. Teachers in these schools did not know if there would be cancellation until the same time The College found out. It isn’t a business scheme. Its a district wide thing. We cannot bash the college for this.


  3. September 7, 2017 @ 9:45 pm Stan Kefreike

    Bro, I appreciate the sentiment but could you try writing a better article. I get it you learned what mazlows hierarchy of needs are but damn it’s pretty dishonest discourse to say that we’re being denied shelter and safety. Your precious self can pay attention in class and do assignments. An evacuation won’t stop you from self-actualizing lol.
    And jeez, that’s also a pretty privileged world view, implying people need hundred dollar tickets out to stay with their family and that the college has to accommodate that. They’ve had the hurricane preparedness thing on forever. They have buses, and everyone who has prepared to will get out. They aren’t selling out our safety.
    And lord man you’re a senior write like it. I cringed so hard reading the oxford’s dictionary trope. It’s like something a high schooler would put in his essay before proofreading. And “i.e.” doesn’t belong in parentheses. Not only that, it fails in the context you write it in.


  4. September 25, 2017 @ 4:40 pm John

    Had to stop halfway through just because this is so poorly written. The author appears to have opened up a thesaurus and blindly picked out and shoved in unnecessary, unfitting words like “actualized” in an attempt to sound smarter. There are questions with no question mark. There are sentences which directly contradict the preceding sentence. There are quotation marks and capitalization where there needn’t be any. And Maslow’s hierarchy of needs… Really? Most importantly, this piece as a whole is so factually incorrect on so many levels, I don’t want to take the time to pick apart each individual point.


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