Editorial: Iowa State right to cancel classes


David Boschwitz/Iowa State Daily

A snowy scene on the Iowa State University campus Jan. 18.

Editorial Board

In advance of Iowa State’s decision to cancel classes both Tuesday and Wednesday, many students were checking their phones or watching the news dreading the upcoming week.

Temperatures were predicted to be so low that if students were to stay outside for more than a few minutes — like having to trek across campus — frostbite would set in.

On Monday, the University of Iowa was the first to cancel classes beginning 5 p.m. Tuesday to noon Thursday. Iowa State soon followed suit in closing campus,  except for essential departments such as snow and ice removal, food services and maintenance, from 5 p.m. Tuesday to noon on Thursday.

Tuesday morning, many students woke up to discover that Iowa State had also canceled classes entirely for that day.

Iowa State was right to cancel classes. If they had not, many students would have likely skipped their classes or risked the cold for the sake of attendance and therefore putting themselves in danger of frostbite and severe cold.

While it is huge for the university to cancel classes — the last time recorded being 2014 — Iowa State should build in more ability for professors and students to opt out of classes when the weather is severe. Why is it that it took many inches of snow, icy roads and negative degree temperatures for weeks to finally cancel classes?

While the weather hasn’t been as bad this week, there still have been days where 8 a.m. classes or late labs were hard to get to and leave from, especially for those who drive, ride the bus, walk or bike. Being in Iowa, the professors should build in excused absence policies especially for students who have a long commute to campus or would have to put themselves at risk to go to class.

That being said, students, “snow days” should not be treated like a weekend or a day full of drinking. Use this opportunity to catch up on schoolwork and relax, rather than putting yourself at risk by going out or ignoring the work that got pushed back due to the inclement weather.

Thank you, Iowa State, for prioritizing student and faculty safety. However, the ISD Editorial Board encourages you to use this opportunity to reevaluate inclement weather policies as a polar vortex so severe it shuts down campus should not be the only thing standing between attendance and student and faculty safety.