Tech’s inclement weather policy entered the spotlight as the spring semester began amidst heavy snow. Classes on campus usually persevere through the winter wonderland of January. However, bad weather leading into a three-day weekend at the start of the semester makes a unique enough situation to cancel classes.
“We didn’t think in that weekend the same way we would normally during the academic year,” President Bob Bell said. “We thought there would be many students who would drive up two or three hours, go to one class, and then go back home for three days.”
Tech’s standard policy regarding inclement weather states the University stays open in spite of snow fall. Giving students credit for classes requires that a certain amount of hours are spent in the classroom.
“If you start shutting every time there’s a snow fall,”Bell said, “your spring semester is going to run into July.”
The policy gives each instructor and student the right to asses the potential risks of getting to class on his or her own. One major factor in a student’s decision to brave slick roads is an instructor’s absence policy.
“As far as the policy in general,” Joseph Brazil, freshman pre-medicine major said, “it really seems like you’re relying on the professors and not the campus as a whole,”
Amanda Nguy, a graduate student in the chemistry department, said, “If the professors don’t cancel their classes, they should make an effort to help those not able to make it to class, like put lectures and/or notes online.”
While many students willingly trudge to class for their credit hours, some worry about inevitable spills on icy patches of sidewalk.
“I fell pretty badly coming out of Johnson Hall,” said Matthew Goodman, a junior accounting major. “I definitely think the University needs to put salt down more often, especially on stairs coming out of buildings.”
On days when weather services predict heavy snowfall for Tech, University staff begins putting down salt at 3 a.m. If snow and ice accumulation continues, staff members repeat the process as many times as necessary.
“I know our staff has been working overtime to make sure that the sidewalks are clear and the ice has cleared up as much as possible,” said Brandon Russell, Pinkerton Quad assistant coordinator.
“Tech is looking at its students and employees to make sure they’re safe.
Tech’s conservative inclement weather policy looks to serve the best interests of the student body.
“When you’ve got 11,000 people, you cannot look at every driveway and say, ‘that’s a slick driveway, therefore the other 10,500 ought to not get an education,'” Bell said. “If we start getting a winter storm warning that has a lot of ice associated with it, then we look a little harder.
“Businesses don’t close. We’re training leaders for the future of the area. Except for school systems where you have school buses on remote roads, nobody else closes, so it’s typically our policy not to.