Seeing a “campus is closing” e-mail has become an absolute shock. A sheet of solid ice didn’t close campus, nor did a wind chill of about 40 below zero; instead, Fort Hays State University finally closed its doors – after noon, of course – after a near white-out blizzard on Monday morning.
Managing Editor Eric Bader criticized the cancellation procedures in a column written after the first case of severe winter weather, but since then, winter weather ravaged Hays twice in two different forms.
I’m grateful for Monday’s cancellation, but now that the awful weather has passed – we hope, anyway – a survey of the last few weeks and the university’s handling of severe weather is absolutely necessary.
First, the ice day was outrageous. I can understand not canceling for snow in certain cases, but ice usually cinches a cancellation. For more on that, just read the “Cold as ice” column from two issues ago.
As for the severe cold of 40 degrees below, hardly anyone seems to have any perspective on the issue of parking procedures on campus. This applies to ice as well, but students living in the dorms and apartments within a certain radius of Fort Hays are not allowed to park in certain on-campus zones. If you live in Wiest and your first class is in Rarick Hall, you have to trek the massive Wiest parking lot, follow the roads that pass Wooster, cross the length of Tomanek Hall, then cross through the quad all the way to the end of campus on the edge of 8th Street. It’s about a ten-minute walk, give or take a couple of minutes.
Have a little sympathy here. Trying to ensure that every student makes it to class every single day isn’t worth the potential injury or illness resulting from walking in sub-zero temperatures across the length of a university. I can withstand horrible winter weather. It’s understandable to continue, business as usual, in the midst of a standard Kansas winter storm. But over these past few weeks, Hays did reach cancellation conditions three times.
I guess I don’t understand where priorities lie for the university. I’ve seen students walk into classrooms running fevers, claiming that missing class would somehow destroy their academic or extra-curricular lives. What has education come to?
We’d rather the campus be stricken with illness and broken limbs then call off classes for a day. From what I’ve heard from friends in certain majors, some professors don’t exactly show up 100 percent of the time without a layer of ice on the ground.
I recall, as a freshman, coming to class only to find it was canceled with an attendance sheet lying on a table for everyone to sign, its purpose apparently to prove we showed up for nothing.
Some at this university do not seem to take attendance all too seriously.
It may have been a rare case, but the weather was, indeed, dangerous enough to warrant canceling classes three times, perhaps even four, considering Hays prefers to wait until 4 p.m. to properly clear the main roads. Kansas University closed twice, and Kansas State closed two and a half days. There’s no shame in it.
Given the varied and apocalyptic storms hitting in quick succession, campus should have closed at least three times in the last three weeks.