Snow Days Send Campus Into Flurry

BY EMMA SULLIVAN // FEB. 7, 2015 //

Three weeks into the spring semester, and students have yet to have a full week of classes.

Snow is piled high across campus, as more than 40 inches of snow have fallen in the area since Jan. 26. As a result, Curry has canceled three full days of classes as well as two partial days.

And if the National Weather Service’s report is correct, more cancellations may be on the horizon for early next week.

“I’ve been stressed because I’m not totally sure what’s going on in some of my classes,” said Mack Tasoulas, a sophomore management major. “It’s hard to know what to be working on when I haven’t been able to speak with those professors.”

The Curry Student Center is well-blanketed with snow, with no thaw in sight. // PHOTO BY GRETCHEN GUNDBERG

The Curry Student Center is well-blanketed with snow, with no thaw in sight. // PHOTO BY GRETCHEN GUNDBERG

Curry doesn’t have an official policy around make-up classes due to snow days or other events. In an interview with CurrierTimes.net, Chief Academic Officer Dave Szczerbacki said faculty should do whatever they think is best, given the course materials that need to be covered. For some professors, that may mean holding make-up classes. For others, video lecturers could suffice, or additional homework assignments.

“There are many alternative ways to get the work done short of make-up classes, particularly with the use of technology,” said Szczerbacki, who noted that a college-wide end-of-semester make-up day would not work at Curry because of the already tight schedule. Final exams begin the day immediately following the college’s last official class day.

Bette Manter, a professor of philosophy and religion, said she would not hold make-up classes this semester. “I can’t require make-up classes—too few students have the flexibility to make the time—but I will encourage study groups, and I will have to adjust the syllabus to reflect the new reality.”

Szczerbacki suggested that professors revise their syllabi and detail how classes will be conducted in the event of future snow days or other scheduling conflicts.

That leads to a question on the minds of many students and faculty: “Who decides if the college should close?”

Szczerbacki said 10-12 members of the administration come together to make the decision, including himself, President Ken Quigley, and representatives from Human Resources, and Buildings and Grounds. They all stay updated on State Police and weather reports, and consider the safety of sidewalks and roads on campus, as well as the condition of roads faculty, staff, and commuters would traveling on. According to Szczerbacki, President Quigley then makes the final decision.

This past week, students were informed of cancellations and delays in the early morning, just before 6 a.m. Some nursing students with clinicals and others with early-morning internships later contacted the Student Government Association to complain. They believe the decision to close campus should be made earlier.

To those frustrated with the late communication, Szczerbacki had a frank response: “Go back in bed. Don’t whine. Life is hard.”

Ensuring student safety is the college’s top priority when determining whether to cancel classes, he added.

“We’re not playing for dolls here, or we’re not playing war. This is real-life safety and security,” said Szczerbacki. “Your internship will be there next week. The kid who loses their life in a car accident won’t be there next week. That’s how serious this stuff is.”

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