Class cancellation criteria

Hannah Witteman and Adie Goodyear

Winter has not been nice for the residents of Ohio this year. With record breaking temperatures and snowfall, it has students on the Ashland University campus wondering what conditions are too dangerous and who makes the final call for class cancellations. 

Vice President of Operations and Planning, Rick Ewing says, “We look at a lot of different things, and when I say ‘we’ it’s me, in combination with the provost and sometimes our public relations director.”

The three will keep an eye on the weather a couple of days before to decide if cancellations need to be made. They ask themselves how bad is it and how nasty are the conditions going to be around the time classes are going to start?

“I think the key thing with us being a residential campus, while we do have commuter students, is we want to make sure students can safely get around campus,” Ewing adds, “I live outside of town so I will actually drive in, drive around town, [and] get a sense of how well the roads have been cleared.”

Not only will Ewing go out of his way to see the road conditions himself, but he listens to what students have to say.

Ewing explains that even though they take the students opinion about the weather into consideration, it is not the sole reason they cancel classes.

Kristine Fager, an Accounting student, also agrees with Ewing and adds the only thing she would change about the system, is that she wishes they would tell students about the cancellations sooner.

“I think [the system] they use is fine, I just wish they told students in the early afternoon instead of five p.m,” Fager said.

Although Ewing and his team do multiple things to determine whether or not cancelling classes is in the best interest for students and staff, they still need the final say from President Campo.

“The provost will check in with Campo, and say ‘this is what we’re thinking of doing, do you agree?’ If Campo thinks differently he will let us know,” Ewing says. “Campo makes the final decision if he doesn’t agree with our suggestion.”

Ewing points out that there is also a difference between cancelling classes and shutting down campus.

“We look at those as two different things. Obviously if we close the college, classes will be cancelled,” Ewing said. “The issue with closing campus however, is that we got some 1,800 student that are living here, so it’s like we can’t completely close campus.”

The school has designated staff who need to come down regardless of the weather. This is one reason why they hardly shut down the campus completely.

When asked if the school should do more to keep the paths clear, Fager said yes.

“The Saturday and Sunday that we had the big snow storm you could barely walk,” Fager adds. “There was no stairs and there was no sidewalk at all. You literally could not walk anywhere and it was awful.”

Ewing repetitively explained that the university’s main concern with cancelling classes is to make sure that the staff and students can travel safely during cold temperatures.

“Our primary concern is safety. We know that winter is difficult and we also know that people’s expectations of how well things are maintained in the winter are variable. We really appreciate what the students and staff can do to help us in that,” Ewing said.