Use your best judgement with weather

Julia Baxter, Staff Writer

Jay Collier, director of College Relations, and Jeff Carstens, vice president of Student Services, explained the decisions behind cancelling or not cancelling classes during the inclement weather in the past two weeks.

After classes were cancelled on campus on Monday, Jan. 16, some students got their hopes up for a four-day weekend.
They were sorely disappointed when classes were not cancelled Tuesday.

Students were left wondering why the campus was reopened at 9:30 a.m., even though some students said there was still enough ice on the sidewalks to make walking to class difficult. The WSC campus was closed from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., when classes began with those faculty who decided to hold them.

“Campus staff worked many hours before the campus reopened at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, clearing and treating sidewalks, streets and parking lots with a sand/gravel/salt mixture to improve traction and break up the ice,” Carstens said. “There will always be a period after an ice or snow storm when walking and driving requires extra caution and alertness until streets and sidewalks return to typical winter conditions.”

Collier said that even if the ice on the sidewalks wasn’t removed, the grass would be easy enough to walk on and that the ice shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance.

“I talked to the crew and was informed that even if the ice had not been removed by 9:30, which they thought it would be, the sidewalks would clear up soon because of the sun,” Collier said.

Some commuters also expressed their discomfort with driving to campus.

Collier said the college stressed its concern to commuters by repeatedly telling them to use their best discretion on deciding about coming to class. Statements advised students to use their best judgment.

“It’s always up to the teachers whether or not they should have class,” Collier said.

He added that four administrators contribute to any decision made on weather closings: President Marysz Rames; Jeff Carstens, vice president of Student Services; Steve Elliott, vice president of Academic Affairs; and Chad Altwine, director of Facilities.

On Tuesday last week students were once again hoping for classes to be cancelled. However, classes were cancelled at 3 p.m. and after. The campus was not reopened until the following day at 9:30 a.m. and classes resumed at 10 a.m.

“Decisions to reopen campus after severe weather are based on the expected safety and condition of campus streets, parking lots and sidewalks, as well as road conditions in and around Wayne,” Carstens said.

The cancellations were similar in these two cases. Some students were unable to make it to campus because of the weather, even though their classes weren’t cancelled.

“The travel conditions and safety of students and employees who commute to campus is considered in making weather-related decisions to close and reopen the campus,” Carstens said.

He said that employees and students travel from all different directions and that weather conditions can vary widely, even within a 20-mile radius. This is why, in both cases, professors weren’t given exact instructions on whether or not to cancel classes.

“Some faculty live outside Wayne and may not be able to safely travel to campus, while most other faculty are able to travel to campus for classes. It’s best if each instructor determines what’s best for herself or himself and their classes,” Carstens said.

Both Collier and Carstens stressed that students and professors should always use their best judgement and stay safe.

“Students and employees are always allowed to use their own judgement in determining whether it is safe for them to travel to campus. Decisions to reopen the campus are based on whether the majority of students and employees can safely travel,” Carstens said.