Blizzard Blankets HLS


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Winter Storm: The Story in Pictures–The RECORD’s photo staff set out this week to capture the effects of this week’s storm.

Upset over not having President’s Day off on Monday, students prayed for a snow day and (almost) got it. Thanks to about two feet of snow, the Law School decided to cancel Tuesday morning classes.

Dean Todd Rakoff, in an interview with The RECORD, could only recall one other occasion during Dean Clark’s tenure when the Law School was shut down for snow. Even as late as Monday night, HLS administrators were still not sure whether the storm would merit closing down the Law School for an entire day.

“We were not going to know until 3:00 a.m.,” Rakoff said. “We chose noon to give us time.”

All morning classes were cancelled, as were all offices and support services, resulting in cancellation of interviews for many 1Ls who were scheduled for on-campus interviews with employers.

Many considerations went into deciding whether the school should close. “Partly safety, partly the desire to keep the educational endeavor moving forward, partly the certainty and uncertainty of things,” Rakoff explained.

Specifically, Rakoff mentioned the ability of faculty, staff and students to get to school safely. “A lot of the staff and many of the faculty drive,” he said, noting at the same time that “nearly half of the students live in dorms. They should have no problems getting to class. A lot of others live within walking distance or the bus.”

In addition to these factors, Rakoff mentioned a legal consideration as well. “If we stayed open and someone got hurt, what would the tort liability of the school be?”

Students seemed generally pleased by the closure. “No getting up for class at 8:30!” was a common refrain. Students planning for an early night to bed ended staying up past their bed time to party, hang out and discuss the stunning conclusion to Joe Millionaire.

One-L Geoffrey McGovern expressed approval at the decision to close HLS. “It’s obvious that the city of Cambridge is not equipped to handle the snow, and in deference to the students who have to drive, Dean Clark made a wise decision,” he said. Still, McGovern added that overall the weather was not too terrible. “From having lived just outside of Buffalo, New York, it feels like home on a balmy summer day. I feel like going outside in Bermuda shorts and sandals.”

School opened once again at noon on Tuesday, as the weather abated and roads were cleared. Lee Rowland, a 1L, expressed dismay that students had not done more with their time off. “I’m disappointed. I saw only one snow angel. In return for getting classes off, students should have shown their appreciation by a modicum of frolicking in the snow. There has not been nearly enough it.”

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