When is the Right time to Cancel Class?

At 5:13am on Fri­day the 4th, stu­dents who are sub­scribed to SAFE alerts received a text mes­sage to their phones say­ing classes and events for that day were can­celed due to weather, but the tim­ing of such an alert has caused greivence among the stu­dent body.

The snow day was some­thing most of stu­dents expected. Adam Clark from Northland’s News Cen­ter reported Supe­rior received 17.8″ that night. So what took UWS, for the sec­ond time this semes­ter, to wait until after 5am to can­cel school?

Its always been our prac­tice to wait until the morn­ing of,” said Direc­tor of Mar­ket­ing and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Lynne Williams. “We usu­ally make the call between 3 and 5 am…We call facil­i­ties and see what the park­ing lots look like and the side walks—generally all of cam­pus. We want to see how the weather unfolds.”

Many stu­dents dis­like and find annoy­ance in this, which prompted the Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment to act.

“The Stu­dent Sen­ate unan­i­mously passed a bill ask­ing for ear­lier noti­fi­ca­tion in con­cern for school clos­ing as well as noti­fi­ca­tion when school is expected to stay open when other schools close,” said SGA vice pres­i­dent Kara Schmidt. “We hoped to bet­ter serve all of our stu­dents who might oth­er­wise suf­fer test anx­i­ety, need to make arrange­ments for chil­dren, or dig out a vehi­cle. The response from Admin­is­tra­tion is that stu­dents would be incon­ve­nienced by those emails and that it is impos­si­ble to inform stu­dents earlier.”
The bill was passed by the Stu­dent Sen­ate unan­i­mously, some­thing the admin­is­tra­tion rarely doesn’t approve.
Williams said that the SGA wanted the admin­is­tra­tion to make a deci­sion by 8pm the day before, and that that was some­thing they could not com­mit to. “We don’t want to make a deci­sion about some­thing that won’t hap­pen for sev­eral hours,” she said. “The snow could stop at midnight…We just don’t know.”
Williams explained that the one who makes the deci­sion on whether or not to can­cel school is Provost Dr. Faith Hen­srud. She then tells Williams, who sends out the SAFE Alert to text stu­dents as well as post on the school web­site that classes are can­celed. She then updates the emer­gency hot­line, posts to the schools Face­book page, sends every­one an email, and calls the local tele­vi­sion sta­tions. “It all takes about 15 min­uets,” said said.
“I per­son­ally feel that Admin­is­tra­tion is being neg­li­gent to the stu­dents and to Fac­ulty,” said Schmidt.
Around mid­night UMD and St. Scholas­tica had on their web­sites that classes for April 4 were can­celed. Supe­rior and Duluth school dis­tricts also reported can­cel­la­tions around this time as well.
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