Winter weather raises questions
March 8, 2007
Before the winter weather struck hard last week, students around campus were pondering the question, are we going to have classes?
Early last week, Blake Fry sent out an e-mail to all students, faculty and staff warning them of the snow that was to come and to advise every person to use their best judgment when deciding whether to drive to campus or not.
We can only imagine the frustration that professors felt when every time they opened their e-mail twenty new messages popped up, all about the exact same topic.
So, why weren’t classes canceled for the whole University early in the day on Thursday, or Wednesday night when TV news programs began announcing other schools and public events that were closing down for the weather?
It seems somewhat absurd to have students driving from the Twin Cities metro area or rural towns of western Wisconsin in order to make it to their morning classes (when the snow had already started) and then have classes canceled at 2:30 p.m.
Isn’t there formal protocol for bad winter weather considering we are attending a college in the upper Midwest, an area prone to lots of snow and belowfreezing temperatures?
This winter has brought about a series of questions about procedures on this campus in relation to the season and student safety.
Why are all, but one of the lots closing down over spring break in order plow when the last snow fell two weeks prior? Shouldn’t the lots be relatively clear by now already? Why are students forced into the snow when the sidewalk sweepers come through, especially when all rotating brushes do is move the dusty snow and buff the ice below it to a perfect shine?
Lastly, why, as a professor on campus pointed out, would it be appropriate to have students brave the weather at 10:10 a.m. when the University advised them not to be there only 15 minutes before?
The entire system seems disorganized and chaotic, causing more questions than there are answers for. The University took precautions in order to secure the students safety (though staff were not off the hook since the school did not close), but when the decision to drive to campus or not is left to each individual in a large group, then problems are bound to arise. Why would it be worth holding class when students can choose not to come, “for their safety,” since the professor will have to re-teach the information the next class period anyway?
In the end, it seems like more work for the faculty and staff, and a large amount of anguish and frustration for everyone.