Who Can We Lean On?

The following is an article pertaining to the student concern that transpired after the tornadoes in New Orleans early February. This article correlates the movie “Lean On Me” and how they both demonstrate the need for a strong relationship between administration and the general student body. Enjoy!

One of the movies I enjoyed growing up was “Lean On Me”, a classic tale about troubled youth and their administration not seeing eye to eye. But those problems don’t just arise at good ol’ Eastside High, it is a preconceived notion that students would often disagree with the superiors of their respective institution.

Lean On Me official movie poster

For example, as I mentioned in my article on Monday, there were tornadoes that hit the New Orleans East area, which is approximately 15 minutes away from my school (Xavier University of Louisiana). Students felt very concerned that the University didn’t cancel class or acknowledge the situation with sincerity until much later. I spoke with Xavier students Algeria Brisbon, Marissa Johnson and Shannen Lawson to hear what they had to say about their feelings toward the situation last Tuesday.

“I am a commuter student and I felt highly disappointed at the university because not only were they not concerned about the safety of students they weren’t concerned as to how dangerous it was to travel. In my opinion, what should have been done was either shut the campus down until it was safe or cancel classes immediately when the warning was broadcast because I didn’t go to class because I was stuck at my internship at a school in the East of New Orleans because they cared [more] about my safety than me getting to class on time for that day.” -Brisbon, Senior, Public Health

Students heading to the University Center

“In a situation like that, I’m sure, everyone wants to be told they could go home but it’s not that simple. Winds that harsh and the unpredictability it’s best not to go outside. It was a ratio having bunches of kids outside and losing a day or not cancel at all. It should’ve been more like a freeze on classes. I wish Xavier would’ve stressed more to stay where you are instead of saying classes will continue and excuse those that are late.” -Johnson, Senior, Chemistry- Pre Pharmacy

“I actually went to class that afternoon and majority of our class was not in attendance and our professor still taught a full lesson. It’s pretty unfair to the students who commute or just felt unsafe and the professors didn’t really feel much remorse. The university definitely could have done better. If it was serious enough that we had to be on lockdown in our dorms then that should have been a sign that they should have cancelled classes as well.” – Lawson, Freshman, Business Management 

Now I could end my post right here and just say “DO BETTER XAVIER!”, but that isn’t good journalism now is it? I spoke with Xavier’s Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Anne McCall to see what the reason behind Xavier’s decision was.


“Classes weren’t cancelled because that would’ve put students in a dangerous situation that were already on campus,” said McCall. “Canceling calluses would basically mean putting students out on the road and we definitely didn’t want to do that. So we were trying to find a way to both accommodate people who were present and people who couldn’t come.”

In short, with my conversation with Dr. McCall she stressed the importance of being entitled to your own judgment and that students shouldn’t be penalized for doing so in a situation like that. So basically this was just the classic tale of only hearing one side of the story. If we continue to bridge the gap between administration and students we would have a better understanding on why things are the way they are.



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