Mattek: Cancelling class a ‘bizarre optics move’ for WSU

Usually, when a student gets a text alert about class being cancelled, it’s cause for celebration. However when it’s the week before finals and students are counting on review sessions and already have a study day lined up, a cancellation is inopportune to say the least.

I then read further and learned that it’s for a National Day of Mourning for a president whose tenure you weren’t even alive for. Upon contacting Teri Hall, Rick Muma, the Governor, and President Bardo’s offices, I learned that it was a move motivated by precedence, as WSU had cancelled for a couple of presidential funerals in the past.

A representative from the president’s office stated that if anyone had reason enough to object before they made the announcement, they would have taken that into account. They had spoken with faculty and student representation from both senates just minutes before making the announcement to the public. Who was the administration expecting opposition from if they had only taken input from people who weren’t taking or giving finals?

It seems as if the administration didn’t truly take into account the student’s feelings on this matter in the slightest. I’m sure they assumed students would be thrilled about a break during one of the most stressful weeks of their college career, but they were sorely mistaken, as this has thrown a wrench in many plans, projects, and exams that were scheduled for that day.

The question of motivation is posed. Does the administration wish to be in good standing politically with a Republican governor who leaves office in a month? Does it cost more for a university to run on a day where state employees are concerned? What does the university expect from a cancellation? Are the students expected to have candlelight vigils for a war criminal, AIDS crisis-denying ex-president? The cancellation was in no way mandated by the state and none of the other universities in Kansas are cancelling, with K-State treating it as they do with Veteran’s Day, and KU not even mentioning the matter.

With all the repercussions of this decision weighing on the professors and the students to figure out what is to happen with their classes, extracurriculars, and finals on Wednesday, this was a bizarre optics move on behalf of the university.