During the bitter winter months, students pray for snowfall in hopes of class cancellations. For some students, even the smallest amount of snowfall can get them excited for a snow day. However, not too many people know the process the university goes through to cancel classes due to snow.
The Penmen Press spoke with the individual responsible for making this hefty decision: Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Jeremy Owens
Owens’ process to cancel classes follows a relatively standard procedure. He looks at other cancellations, the intensity of the storm, and whether the cancellation will interfere with important events happening on campus, such as finals.
The main factor in determining whether to cancel classes, he said, is the amount of expected snowfall.
“Heavy snowfall is usually when we cancel. It’s rare that we cancel for anything else,” said Owens.
On the contrary, low levels of snow produce slicker and icier roads, which makes traveling to and from campus more difficult for commuters. Yet, as Owens stated, it is uncommon for the university to cancel classes when the snowfall is light.
The roads are especially dangerous at night or early morning when most commuters are driving to and from campus. Ice covers the pavement the most at these times, and commuters often cannot even see this ice.
Facilities sprinkle salt on all campus roadways, but students commuting from far lengths throughout the Greater Manchester area are not as fortunate. The roads many students drive on are not always salted, causing an uneasy, stressful commute.
Facilities work tirelessly through the wee hours of the night to ensure all walkways and stairwells around campus are plowed. They take every precaution necessary so on-campus can attend their classes. Yet, commuters are late to class because they slid off the road because the road was not plowed or salted. It almost seems like SNHU cares more about its on-campus students than commuters when it comes to winter weather precautions.
Approximately half of all SNHU students are commuters, and if the roads are in dangerous conditions, they shouldn’t be forced to attend class. Just because the snowfall isn’t exactly “heavy,” it still impacts students’ commute. Therefore, SNHU should take commuters into consideration when canceling classes.