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September 21, 2023

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Wind chill cancels classes, not work day

Daniel Gould I Photographer
University students

This is the first time in three years the University has canceled classes due to weather.

“In constantly changing weather conditions, we want to have as much up-to-date information as possible to make an informed decision,” University President Mary Ellen Mazey said in an email. “We balance that with the need to allow students, faculty and staff time to plan.”

The last time campus was closed was during the holiday break on January 6 to 8. Before that, the last time the campus was fully closed was sometime in February of 2011, said Dave Kielmeyer, University spokesperson. This is the first time Mazey has closed classes at the University.

There was a huge snowstorm during the winter in February 2011 resulting in a Level 3 Snow Emergency and campus closing for a day and a half, he said.

The University president makes the final decision to cancel classes, with the help of the University police chief and other law enforcement, Kielmeyer said.

She has a leadership team with whom she consults.

“I make these types of decisions every day,” Mazey said in an email. “In addition, I conferred with the Provost and other members of cabinet to reach a decision.”

Classes were canceled on Tuesday, but University operations were still open for students’ use.

“[We want to] keep services open such as dining and shuttles,” Kielmeyer said.

The announcement was made by 9 p.m. through email and AlertBG. In many instances, Mazey and her leadership team won’t make this kind of decision until 5 a.m. on the day of the closure.

All classes resumed today because even though the weather conditions were still very cold, after close evaluations it was safe to resume classes with proper precautions.

In most cases, the University will not close for winter conditions unless the Wood County Sheriff’s Office declares a Level 3 Snow Emergency. However, because of the extreme temperature and wind chill, the decision was made to cancel classes on Tuesday, Kielmeyer said.

Senior Briana Boron was happy classes were canceled as she has classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“I kept seeing tweets from everyone using the hash tag #closeBG,” Boron said. “Pretty sure it was trending [on Twitter] for two or three days.”

She was more shocked when she received the email.

“I know BG never really closes campus, so I was just surprised they closed today,” Boron said. “It’s nice though because I haven’t had classes since last Tuesday.”

Her professor was sick last Thursday and canceled class, so she expects a lot of homework come Thursday.

However, she said she did not understand why everyone wanted campus closed on Monday.

“The weather was pretty bad but [students] were definitely able to go to class wearing warm clothing,” Boron said.

Kielmeyer said a common question was “why didn’t [the University] close campus on Monday?”

“[Monday] was still cold, but if the correct precautions were taken, students could safely walk to classes,” he said.

Even though students were not required to come to campus to attend classes on Tuesday, all employees, faculty and staff had to work as scheduled. Professors could have worked from home and if student employees did not feel the drive was safe, they could have called their supervisor to take the time off, Kielmeyer said.

“This was important [to us] to remind faculty, staff and student employees of this,” Kielmeyer said.

Demetria Graham, a secretary in the Department of Computer Science, was one of the many that was required to come to campus today.

“It didn’t really matter to me because either way the University would have had to pay us anyway,” Graham said.

Graham said she was happy in a way because it was easier for her to get work done.

“It was nice not having students calling and coming in throughout the day so I was able to focus and catch up on work,” she said. “It was really a win-win for me.”

Graham lives about a mile away from the University, so even though the road conditions weren’t the best, she said she was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to travel far.

She does have a daughter who also had a snow day on Tuesday, but didn’t have to worry about finding a baby-sitter while she was at work because her husband was able to stay home.

“The whole day was pretty slow and I lucked out having my husband at home,” Graham said.

One thing is always on Mazey’s mind when determining what will happen considering the circumstances.

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is always the deciding factor in decisions likes these,” Mazey said. “We have made a commitment to our students to provide them with an education. And as long as we can do that safely, we do not want to take away valuable classroom time.”

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