It's really cold in Illinois this week.
The forecast high at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for Monday was just 5 degrees. The predicted wind chills of 25 to 35 degrees below zero prompted a wind chill advisory issued for central Illinois, where UIUC is located, through Tuesday afternoon.
However, UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise announced Sunday evening that classes would go on Monday, which didn't sit well with Illinois students.
In response, more than 8,000 people signed an online petition trying to get the university to cancel classes Monday.
— Michael Bojda (@mbojda) January 27, 2014
"Canceling classes is a responsible measure to ensure that the entire campus community remains safe during these exterme [sic] weather conditions," the petition reads. "If you feel the same, sign this petition to let the Chancellor know."
They did not succeed.
Students also took it upon themselves to let the chancellor know on Twitter how upset they were with going to class. But some did so with offensive posts and by wishing injury on Wise, a daughter of Chinese immigrants. BuzzFeed and Chicagoist gathered several examples, most of which have since been deleted.
Thankfully, there were some more level-headed folks who pushed back on the offensive tweets:
I'm sure all of you will look back at this in 10 years and be ashamed of yourselves for verbally abusing an individual online #FuckPhyllis
— Andrea Garcia-Vargas (@AndreaGarVar) January 27, 2014
I agree it sucks going to class when it's freezing. Be an adult. Stay home if it's safer, but don't make racial slurs #fuckphyllis
— Lilith (@GrimalkinRN) January 27, 2014
But still, classes went on as scheduled.
The University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Chicago and Northwestern University remained open Monday, but students there largely did not head to Twitter with offensive remarks, just snarky ones:
Northwestern: "It's cold, so we got you an extra bus!"
— Bobby Pillote (@BobbyPillote) January 27, 2014
Northwestern University: Now with locations in Chicago, Antarctica, and Hoth
— Dan Rufolo (@DanRufoBro) January 27, 2014
UPDATE, Jan. 28: Awwwww! UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise received a flood of supportive phone calls and emails throughout Monday, with attempts to comfort the university leader while students attacked her on social media, the News-Gazette reports. Someone even sent flowers with a card reading, "I support you."
Wise did see the tweets, which she called "sad."
"I'm hoping this still represents a very, very small minority," Wise told the News-Gazette. "We have to talk about civil discourse, and how to agree to disagree and still remain ... respectful."