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Snowy conditions at Western prompt safety petition

By McKenna Cardwell

For students and staff, the daily commute to school or work was once again interrupted by winter weather Monday, Feb. 27. Campus remained open all day despite the snowfall and a recent petition calling for increased access for disabled students during extreme weather.

When the snow began to pile up again on Monday, a Western Weather Advisory was sent out at 4:03 p.m. saying the campus would remain open for the rest of the day.

“The university must balance the importance of being open in order to fulfill its mission and responsibilities as an educational institution and the effects of bad weather.”

Paul Cocke

The safety of campus is a top priority and Western staff use their best judgement, based on forecasts, to predict what the conditions surrounding campus will be like, Western’s Director of Communications Paul Cocke said in an email.

“The university must balance the importance of being open in order to fulfill its mission and responsibilities as an educational institution and the effects of bad weather,” Cocke said.

Junior Wyatt Johnson said he thought the university made the right call to remain open.

“It didn’t start snowing until my lecture at 10 a.m. so it would be a little weird for them to cancel school mid-way through the day,” he said. “It can get a little slippery when you’re walking through Red Square and the Communication Facilities, but if you have good shoes, you should be fine.”  

Freshman Jana Obune said she thinks campus should have closed when the weather began picking up and the snow continued to fall.  

“I’m not surprised that they didn’t though, considering last time it happened,” Obune said.

Before classes were canceled at 5 p.m., Feb. 8 // Photo by Sophie Miller

Western experienced harsh winter weather earlier this month as well, closing campus on Feb. 6, 9, and starting at 5 p.m. on Feb. 8. The school remained open Feb. 7 and in the morning on Feb. 8.

Sophomore Neco Pacheaco created a petition following the intense snow, calling the university’s decision to remain open Feb. 7 and 8 “unfair and unjust.”

All students, staff, faculty and guests, particularly for those of differing mobility types, should be able to safely travel on and through campus, Pacheaco said in the petition.  

Pecheaco attached a letter addressed to the Woodring College of Education’s Special Education Department to the petition.

“Our campus was in a state that was not safe or accessible to all of its students due to extreme weather conditions and yet we were still being asked to attend class,” Pacheaco said in the letter. 

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