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Inclement Weather

02 Feb Posted by in Business | Comments Off on Inclement Weather

Several provosts I’ve met, and other observers, have commented on what an unpleasant job it is. On the whole I don’t find it so — the chance for constructive influence, the range of topics and issues is recurrently, if not consistently, exciting.

Handling inclement weather, however, invariably if briefly drives me to the pessimist camp. Whatever one does meets criticism, often highly emotional. Of course, as I always point out, I don’t do the calls all by myself and we get advice on road and parking conditions. Contrary to the assumptions of some critics, we put a lot of thought into our decisions. We try to balance transportation challenges with the fact of a large residential population and a belief that the educational process should be maintained, not blindly but as much as possible. The criteria for judgment are not whimsical: we’re open when the main roads and our parking lots are passable. I always feel for people whose particular residential situation is more challenging — I heard from a lot of Prince Williamites on hills last week. But I also assume that people can make individual judgments, based on their situation, and that faculty can be pretty flexible in response. But there’s a lot of anxiety and anger floating around as well, and the resulting accusations can be a bit disconcerting.