Old Man Winter deals Harvard Law an icy hand


The Blizzard of 2001 left more than a foot of snow in the Boston area. But for the first time since 1978, it left something else in its wake – cancelled classes at HLS.

On Monday night, a mixture of shock and exuberance descended over the Gropius dormitories as word of the cancellation spread. The law school was informed of the decision via an email sent from Dean Clark ’72, which read simply, “Due to current and anticipated weather conditions, Harvard Law School will be closed on Tuesday, March 6. All classes, events, and lectures will be cancelled.” The email also provided a phone number (496-SNOW) that students could call for updates.

Some students registered surprise that the school was willing to shut its doors for even a day.

“I read the email from Dean Clark, and my first thought was that someone was somehow playing a trick on me. Even with the weather, I never really believed that the school would close,” said Joe Thomas ’03.

Many students took the snow day as an opportunity to return to the winter activities of their childhood. Shortly after the announcement, signs appeared around the campus announcing a snowball fight – sponsored by a mysterious group calling themselves the “Law School Slackers” – that was scheduled for the following day on Jarvis Field.

“I thought it was a cool idea, but how much of an indication is it of where we’ve arrived as Harvard Law School students when we’re scheduling something as inherently spontaneous as a snowball fight?” pondered Brooke Richie ’03.

Along the streets surrounding the HLS, children and adults were noticeably involved in snowman construction. A number of people could be seen engaging in the back-freezing formation of snow angels. One woman even donned cross-country skis as she whizzed past the Three Aces restaurant.

Still, the winter weather didn’t produce a unanimous feeling of joy. “They towed my car even though there was absolutely no sign saying that people couldn’t park there during a snow emergency. I had make my way through all of this snow to the other side of town, and when I got there and asked for an explanation, the manager of the company just said that during a snow emergency they could tow whether there was a sign or not,” said Lacey Schwartz ’03.

Some on-campus interviews were cancelled due to the inclement weather, as were several receptions held by law firms. One firm, Reboul MacMurray, decided to pay for the reception and encourage students to attend on Tuesday night, even though none of the attorneys would be able to make their flights into Boston.

Due to heavy preparation on the part of municipal authorities and misreads by meteorologists, snow conditions were actually much less severe than were anticipated, leading some to suggest that the cancellation of school was unnecessary. Still, among students who enjoyed the day off, there was little discontent about the situation.

Said Brian MacDonald ’03, “It gave me some extra time to work on Ames and to sleep. I have no complaints.”

(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)