Batter up. Class dismissed.
That will be the cry on the Orioles' Opening Day, April 6, when the University of Maryland at Baltimore closes its doors to more than 4,000 students and faculty members rather than deal with the parking and traffic nightmare expected downtown.
"It is important for UMAB to demonstrate that we are good neighbors and that one way of doing so would be to relieve some of the traffic and parking congestion . . . on opening day," reads a memo sent this week to university administrators from President Errol L. Reese.
"A decision was therefore made to suspend all classes and campus-based student activities for the entire day."
The UMAB campus sits only blocks from the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards. With a flood of traffic expected, students and faculty might not be able to get on and off the campus, Dr. Reese said yesterday. Plus, the university's parking lots could help ease the expected parking crunch, he said.
"We would have preferred not to do this," Dr. Reese said. "But, we're trying to be good neighbors." University officials have wrestled with the decision for a year, he added.
"It is unfortunate that we must lose a day and evening of classes, but the alternatives are likely to prove even worse," reads a memo written by Alan D. Hornstein, the acting dean of the School of Law. "Given the conditions we would face that day, it may be best to think of it as a snow day."
Faculty and staff at the university may end up taking Opening Day as one of the furlough days imposed on state employees to help narrow the state deficit, Dr. Reese said.
He said he hoped the school will be able to make up some of the missed classes before the end of the academic year.
In other years, public schools in the Memorial Stadium area have closed on Opening Day because of fears about student safety.