Funschelle: Don’t leave it to commuter students to have to make a judgment call on inclement weather


Brian Hayes

Students bundles up for the first day of Spring classes on Wichita State campus. The start of classes was delayed due to dangerous windchill.

With yet another ice storm in our forecast, it seems fitting to discuss the role both commuting and inclement weather play at Wichita State.

It wasn’t hard to tell WSU students were outraged when they found out classes weren’t cancelled on Tuesday.

Tuesday, I had to make the decision to attempt to drive to campus or not. The way I saw it, it was a lose-lose situation. Either (a) I risk my life to make it to class or (b) I stay home and be a whole class behind my peers. I’m sure my peers also faced the same struggle.

WSU announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that “at this point, all classes and activities are open as scheduled.”

Initially, my reaction was relief. At least they were acknowledging the weather and considering cancelling.

The second tweet didn’t give me the same sense of secureness.

“We’re watching the forecast and will continually evaluate our options as the situation warrants. We have crews working throughout the day and evening, treating roads, parking lots and sidewalks.”

In a nutshell, it sounded more like they’re leaning to holding class.

Salting the parking lots and sidewalks simply isn’t enough. After a lack of effort on Tuesday, it makes me skeptical that they’ll do the job justice.

The roads surrounding campus aren’t even my main concern. On a normal day, I drive 20 minutes just to get to campus. In inclement weather, that time is doubles.

It’s no secret that WSU is recognized for being a commuter school. In fact, that’s something that the university likes to brag about when recruiting transfer and non-traditional students.

Why is WSU quick to brag about their strides as a commuter school, but not so quick to consider their safety?

WSU justified those insecurities by leaving the choice up to each individual student. In their third tweet, they said:

“Your safety is of the utmost importance, and we encourage you to use your discretion and contact your instructor or supervisor if you feel it is not feasible for you to make it to campus.”

If they know the potential is for unsafe weather, why not cancel and not challenge commuter students to make a judgment call?

With that being said, I hope WSU keeps their beloved commuters in mind when determining the status of classes for inclement weather.