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Weather Reports

Weather Reports

This is something of an annual message, just timed differently because of last week’s torrential rains.

We received a lot of hate-mail because we did not close down. Many accusations of repeated scorn of human safety etc. Needless to say, the accusations are unpleasant, though they spring often from unsettling driving experiences. And it is obviously true that weather calls — save in real extremes of nastiness or niceness — are judgment calls.  But, because in fact we are concerned with safety, it might be good to repeat the ground rules:

  • We do try to provide as much education as possible, which means staying open when it seems reasonable. We also now have 6000 residential students and must take their needs into account.
  • We normally try to be open when the main roads are clear and our parking lots are largely clear. This policy seems reasonable to us, but of course it does not eliminate risk.
  • We have lots of faculty, staff and students in varied commuting situations. People must use their own discretion about conditions for their own particular commute. By the same token I hope that faculty are routinely flexible concerning students who miss a class because of their own weather call. If problems emerge from this combination, I would always be happy to help.

Finally, again recognizing that judgments may vary, it does seem possible to recommend civility and mutual understanding. I don’t think (so far at least) we have hordes of people seeking to abuse weather situations by not coming to class when they could. But I also know that we don’t have a batch of administrators eager to prey on people’s safety. Let’s give each other a bit of a break.