Slippery Rock students received emails and text messages on Monday afternoon around 1 p.m. announcing that Monday evening classes starting at 5 p.m. were cancelled.
According to the SRU Severe Weather Policy, “It is the policy of Slippery Rock University that only the President or his/her designee has the authority to temporarily modify class and/or work schedules in the event of extreme weather conditions including, but not limited to snow, freezing rain, floods and hazardous winds. This decision may include the temporary cancellation of all or part of scheduled academic programs.”
Itzi Metzli, assistant professor of Chicano/Latino literature and criticism and Associate of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) representative, was very upset that the university did not cancel classes on Monday. Metzli said Slippery Rock Middle and High School, which is located across Keister Road, had school cancel.
“We had what they call a flash freeze, where everything was covered with ice, sidewalks, roadways, very dangerous,” Metzli said. “The reason I’m angry, I myself, my car got stuck in ice and I live close by, so I had to walk to campus to get to work because classes had not been cancelled and then I had to maneuver all the icy sidewalks, but I did get to class without falling.”
SRU Public Relations Director Rita Abent said morning classes were not cancelled on Monday morning because the facilities were able to keep up with the campus roads and sidewalks. Abent said the University is not responsible for taking care of sidewalks and roads off the university’s campus. She said the police said Monday morning was okay.
Metzli said he got a text message around 1:00 p.m. saying that evening classes were canceled and that made him very upset. He believes that the University put staff and students at risk by not cancelling classes Monday morning.
Metzli said he asked the APSCUF president to present on this issue at the next APSCUF General Membership meeting, which will be Thursday Feb. 12 at common hour in Spotts Auditorium.
He advises all APSCUF staff who would like to express their concern to come.
“My concerns are not only for the students, but for the faculty, the ones that have to drive in,” Metzli said. “When you wait to cancel the evening classes, you have to know a lot of the instructors are already on campus.”
Abent said the weather on Monday progressively got worse as the sun went down. She said that all the salt on the sidewalks was melting the snow, but the temperature was causing the melted snow to just refreeze and the maintenance crew could not keep up with all the black ice.
“Our number one concern is always the safety of the students, staff, faculty, and visitors on this campus,” Abent said.
Abent said it was more ideal to cancel the evening classes because they only meet once a week, where the absence count is stricter. She said if a student with a night class cannot make it due to weather conditions, that makes it harder for the student to get the work they missed.
“We take cancelling classes very seriously,” Abent said.
As an SRU parent, I am very concerned about this. If professors can barely navigate the icy sidewalks imagine how many students could have been and possibly were injured. I understand students were falling all over the UNTREATED sidewalks.
I am the parent of an SRU senior who commutes to campus from Butler. Just because the campus may be cleared it does not mean that travel to the campus was safe. I was disappointed in SRU on Monday.