By Leo D. Rommel
The heaviest 24-hour April rainstorm in New Jersey history caused a nightmare of a commute for many students Monday morning, as acting Gov. Richard Codey issued a State of Emergency.
Some commuters plowed their way through the water-soaked, wind-driven roadways to make it to their earlier morning classes.
“The students that lived close by to the school made it, but the ones that lived further away didn’t even attempt it,” said Amanda Wurm, president of the Association of Commuting Students, who usually only needs 10 minutes to get to school but needed 40 on Monday.
“Some of them figured it wasn’t worth it and just decided to take the day off, and really, who could blame them?”
The month’s worth of rain that fell caused parts of Route 1, Route 33, Route 130 and dozens of smaller thoroughfares to close Monday morning, reported The Times of Trenton. As a result, Rider canceled classes after 11:30 a.m. after originally letting them go as regularly scheduled.
The safety of commuting students was the reasoning behind the cancellation, said Earle Rommel, director of Public Relations.
“Early in the morning we felt that the conditions of the roads were safe enough for our students to drive in,” said Rommel. “But as the morning went on, reports stated that conditions were worsening because water levels had risen and other area roads had closed and so, for the safety of our students, we canceled class immediately afterwards.”
Rider was the only college in the Mercer County region to cancel classes. Princeton University and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) kept classes open all day, as did Mercer County Community College (MCCC), an all-commuter school.
“When conditions were at their worst in the morning, we did not want to deny the opportunity for learning to those many students who had successfully made it to one of our campuses or were en route,” said Thomas Wilfrid, vice president for Academic and Student Affairs for MCCC.
Rider facilities sustained minimal damage during the storm, said Director of Facilities Mike Maconi. The basement of Maurer Hall, nearest to the locker rooms, collected some water, as did rooms B303, B203 and B305 in Lincoln Residence Hall, though none of those leaks was roof-related.
Instead, the water came in through the walls, through small areas between the layers of brick called weep holes, which allows water to escape.
Facilities will inspect the weep holes on the walls nearest to the rooms affected to ensure they are clear, said Maconi.