of my classmates are nursing hangovers right now. Sure, some may have
studied Tuesday night for the impending first wave of exams, but most
didn’t. Chancellor Ballard pretty much sanctioned a free “Reading Day”
by canceling class Wednesday because of Hurricane Ophelia.
I understand the tragedy that is ongoing in New Orleans caused by
Hurricane Katrina. The floods have
ravished the entire city. Many people and families are displaced.
Victim’s homes and entire communities are destroyed. Rumors are that it
will take a trillion dollars to repair the damages that occurred.
With all of that being said, aren’t we overreacting
with Ophelia? Our situation in eastern North Carolina is nothing like
what happened in New Orleans. For one, we are well versed in preparing
hurricanes. Just in the past three years, this will be the third
hurricane to land on the North Carolina coast.
Isabel and Charley both had minimal impacts inside North Carolina.
Isabel, a Category Two storm, wreaked havoc in Virginia, a place that
has not seen a direct hit since
Hurricane Connie in 1955. It completely missed Raleigh, deciding only
to inflict damage on the eastern
portion of the state.
Charley was little more than a thunderstorm in 2004. The weak hurricane
blew over loose limbs and flooded select areas downtown. The flooding
was far from unusual, as flooding is common with regular thunderstorms.
With just these two hurricanes in mind, ECU would undoubtedly be having
class on Wednesday. But with Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, ECU
officials don’t want to take a chance. I can understand erring on the
side of caution, but isn’t this a little much?
Ophelia isn’t even a hurricane, she’s a tropical storm. As of Tuesday
night, she was expected to pack 60 mph maximum winds. That’s hardly the
140+ mph that the Bayou region experienced during Katrina.
This is about political correctness rather than truly believing any
real threat is posed by the storm. It’s obvious with our sister school
in UNC-Wilmington. UNCW officials issued a mandatory evacuation on
Monday. Classes will probably be cancelled throughout the week. All of
this for a borderline hurricane seems a little farfetched.
The ECU football team will be a faction of students that aren’t
lounging around all day Wednesday. The Pirates were scheduled to
practice on their renovated facility throughout the week. Instead, ECU
will undergo a morning workout in the Student Recreation Center on
Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. pm.
ECU’s late-week plans may also be affected for the impending Wake
Forest game. Coach Holtz’s team was slated to depart
late Friday afternoon for Winston-Salem. Because of possible classes
and flooded roads, it is highly possible that the travel plans may be
Another aspect is the halt of the progression of the Field Turf
facility. Originally schedule to be completed by mid-September, the
100-yard facility may have to wait. The hurricane could delay the debut
of the field, which could impede in ECU’s preparation for West Virginia.
WVU’s Milan Puskar Stadium has Astroplay, a variation of the publicized
Field Turf surface. If the facility is not ready, it would defeat the
purpose of the Pirates getting used to a different surface. Southern
Miss, Rice, Memphis, Tulsa and Marshall all have variations of Field
Hindsight is 20/20 and I may be eating my words come next week. But
consider the confusion conjured up by canceling classes. Officials now
have to deal with rescheduling issues, missed meetings and restless
students cooped up in residence halls.
Whatever happened to overcoming adversity? Aren’t we paranoid as a
society? What’s next? Should we cancel class the next time the terror
threat is raised? All of this thinking is hurting my head. It’s time to
grab some Tylenol and go back to sleep.