Admins make weather calls
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 13:02
Along with Wednesday’s warnings about ice storms came questions about who has the final say in determining class cancellations.
The process is carried out by Len Frey, vice chancellor for finance and administration; Lynita Cooksey, vice chancellor and provost; Rick Stripling, vice chancellor for student affairs; and Cristian Murdock, vice chancellor for university advancement.
The vice chancellors get in contact with the facilities management team at ASU, who are responsible for making the campus as safe as possible. They also check the weather predictions and follow what the meteorologists are saying.
“Several factors influence the final decision regarding closure of the university due to inclement weather,” Frey said. “One factor that trumps all others is the safety of our students, faculty and staff. If we cannot be reasonably sure that one will have safe passage across campus, we will err on the side of closure.”
The decision to cancel classes also impacts the academic mission of the university. The decision-makers have to consider statements such as, “How will this impact ASU’s ability to deliver academic services to students?”
In addition, closing the Jonesboro campus affects students at the other branches of ASU, such as Newport and Beebe.
When making the call to cancel classes, they submit the recommendation to Chancellor Tim Hudson, who then agrees or disagrees with the recommendation. When a consensus is drawn, a notification is sent to the university’s public relations team, who sends the decision out to the public.
“My current policy is if the administration feels it is safe to have class I have class,” said Amy Hitt, communications professor. “My students have been instructed to check with the local media to see if school is going to be closed for bad weather.”
Students question whether they should risk their safety by driving on snow or ice when the university does not cancel classes.
“Even when school is officially open I try to take an understanding approach towards the students who live far away and cannot make it to class because of dangerous road conditions,” Hitt said. “I do not believe students should have to risk their lives to get to my class.”