The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

No snow day?

When a winter storm hit Eau Claire Sunday morning, a thought running through many students’ heads was, ‘How long will this last?’ followed closely by ‘Will classes be canceled tomorrow?’

That’s what junior Hannah Bever said she hoped for on Sunday, but by Monday morning, she said she thought there was ample reason for classes to have been canceled.

“The roads were not plowed enough to expect the day to be normal,” she said. “At the very least, classes should have been delayed until roads improved enough that it was safe for people to drive on them.”

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, who ultimately decides whether to cancel classes or not, said that safety is always his first priority.
“Use your discretion,” he said. “Getting to school is important, but it’s not life or death.”

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He said he takes into account several factors when making his decision, including accessibility of the campus, police reports, availability of buses, and highway closures.

He said that his default position on the issue is to keep the university open, especially since class time is so valuable.

“Our faculty are very concerned about the number of class days they have when we construct the calendar,” he said. “It’s always a big debate to make sure we maximize the number of class days, so when we miss one it’s a big deal to a lot of people.”

He added that there are quite a few night classes on Mondays, and missing one of those is particularly detrimental to the curriculum because it amounts to a whole week of missed class instead of one period.

In 2007, Student Senate passed a resolution regarding severe weather conditions and the canceling of classes. It recommended that the Chancellor cancel classes if the temperature, including wind chill, went below -40 degrees and create a “flex day,” where classes would not take place as normal unless an academic day was already lost. The resolution passed 20-3-1.

People who had left the city for the weekend were another concern for students and faculty.

Freshman Sara Van Dyk, for instance, spent the weekend in Minneapolis. She was supposed to take the bus back to Eau Claire Sunday afternoon, but she said the conditions made it nearly impossible for them to make any headway.

“We had been on the bus for almost an hour,” she said, “and we were barely outside of Minnesota. We eventually had to turn around.”

She tried to reschedule for another bus on Monday, she said, but that one was canceled, too. She eventually found a friend who could give her a ride back to Eau Claire Monday night.

She had to miss her classes, but she said her professors were very understanding of her and others’ situation.

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