Gov. Susana Martinez declared a State of Emergency in New Mexico because of a lack of gas, but some UNM classes faced a state of emergency of their own: a shortage of students.
Sophomore Tristan Burman said at least a quarter of the students in her classes were absent Thursday following the two snow days, and she would have preferred staying home.
“It was super cold when I woke up,” she said. “The only reason I came is a strict attendance policy, so I had to. I can see why people wouldn’t come.”
Student Vanessa Atler said out of 80 students in her music appreciation class, only about 30 showed up. She said the teacher let the class leave early rather than cover important material that more than half the class would miss.
Even some professors had a difficult time making it to class.
“The weather affected me, too,” Journalism Professor Gwyneth Doland said in an e-mail. “I took the bus to campus today, but my regular bus was full and not accepting any more passengers, so I had to wait 20 more minutes for the next one, arriving to class 10 minutes late.”
Doland said three students e-mailed her to say they couldn’t make it to class, all citing weather-related problems.
Biology Professor Kelly Howe said attendance in her classes was about 15 percent lower than usual.
Not all classes had low turnout, though.
Professor Monica Cyrino, who teaches a lecture class about the HBO series “Rome,” had normal attendance, probably because she was showing a movie, she said.
Other students were happy school was back in session, albeit briefly.
Iris Barnes-Grooms said she was excited to return to school after being stuck inside for the last two days.
Student Donna Kolody said 10 people were missing from her class of 30, and she didn’t understand why the University bothered having classes.
“It’s too cold to be out,” she said. “I don’t understand it. CNM’s closed, APS is closed, the city’s closed, but UNM fired up the diesels and decided to make us come out.”
Student Roger Martines said the low attendance was perfectly normal, given the circumstances.
“I think it’s our generation,” he said. “We had two days off, so it was like a weekend. So today’s like a Monday. Of course there’s going to be less people.”
Student Marie Day kept an optimistic view of the low turnout.
“I only had one class, but it was half empty,” she said. “Or half full. However you want to look at it.”