Student-made petition gets over 1,900 signatures

Morgan Cardenas, Reporter

On Monday, Jan. 28, students spoke out against having classes Jan. 29 through Jan. 31 due to harsh weather by signing a petition started by sophomore Nicole Smith. Classes were only canceled on Wednesday, Jan 30.

Smith started a petition because she was worried about how dangerous the weather was supposed to be and how the campus was still going to have classes. The petition gained a little over 1,900 signatures.

“I was surprised by the number of signatures that I got,” Smith said. “I think it helped them pay more attention, and played some part in canceling class.”

Jay Collier, director of college relations, also saw the petition Monday night. He explained how it is common for some students to email him about the weather in hopes of cancellation but not like this.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a petition and I heard some students at UNL also did one,” Collier said. “I thought it was very clever. However, it probably won’t change our decision when it comes to weather with school cancellation, but will certainly call our attention to it.”

Monday night, Collier sent out an email informing the campus that classes would still be in session on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The email contained information on how students should use their best judgement when traveling and to dress in warm clothing.

“We have a system in place for determining what we need to do in terms of weather,” Collier said. “We made the decision Monday night after sending the email that we would meet Tuesday with the idea of looking at Wednesday because we knew it was supposed to be the worst of the two days.”

Collier sent out another email on Tuesday around 2:30 p.m. announcing that classes from 6 p.m. that night to 5 a.m. Thursday would be canceled. He explained how they came to that decision Tuesday.

“We saw that the temperature was going to be below zero without the added wind-chill throughout the whole day and that the conditions were life threatening,” Collier said. “There are a lot of people involved in making these decisions about weather.”

Student affairs, facilities, the president, academic affairs and human resources meet to talk about how well their department can manage with the weather and what the side effects of closing campus will be. They then spread the word through multiple different platforms.

“We use the Rave Alert System that everyone can sign up for on eCampus that I believe everyone should get,” Collier said. “Then we have your official email that we use and the website shows the weather alert at the top of the page in red and tells you everything that is going on with it.”

Collier also stressed students should always use their best judgement with the weather and to talk to their professors about what to do in case they are unable to make their classes due to the weather.