Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Provost speaks on hazardous weather on campus

Mia Hennen
Students at Wichita State walk through campus bundled up on the first in-person day back to school. Wednesday, Jan. 17 was a cool 30 degrees Fahrenheit most of the afternoon.

Students were welcomed to campus Wednesday after frigid temperatures Tuesday morning spurred university administration to suspend Wichita State’s in-person operations. Tuesday’s temporary transition to remote-only instruction and in-person critical campus functions marks the university’s first severe-weather closure of the 2023-24 academic year.

While the worst of the weekend’s cold front has passed, forecasted El Niño winter conditions are still estimated to take its toll on the country’s southern half.

According to Provost Shirley Lefever, university closures or temporary suspensions are determined by “hazardous weather that could potentially endanger the health and safety of students, faculty and staff,” and other factors that could negatively impact student-parents, commuters or other campus populations.

“These decisions … take into consideration a number of factors, including safety of our students, faculty and staff in traveling to campus by car, bike or foot; the need to reduce car and traffic on campus to clear roads and sidewalks; childcare challenges faced by students, faculty and staff; and feasibility to temporarily suspend or move to remote our business operations and/or classes,” Lefever said.

In the event of inclement weather, the university president and his designees — with the input of the provost and vice president for finance and administration — determine if university closures or suspensions are necessary the evening before or the morning of the forecasted hazardous weather. 

Additionally, Wichita State University typically adheres to USD 259 closures and suspensions regarding the status of campus operations.

The university also has several proactive weather-related strategies to ensure safety in and around campus. These methods can vary from campus road maintenance to university closure.

“The university’s inclement weather protocols range from clearing snow and ice from roads and sidewalks, to ensuring our on-campus students do not have to worry about food insecurity, to moving to remote operations and classes, to temporarily closing campus facilities and suspending classes,” Lefever said.

During inclement weather, several essential on-campus services — referred to as critical campus operations — continue to function. Some of these critical operations include Campus Police, Facilities Services and Student Housing, as well as other operations deemed necessary by the president, athletic director, or any university vice president.

While temperatures are predicted to increase over the next few weeks, the “severity of the weather conditions, and how those conditions impact safety and operations” will continue to be prioritized by university administration, according to Lefever.

Additional university closure and suspension procedures information can be found on the MyWSU Inclement Weather page.

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About the Contributors
Allison Campbell, News Editor
Allison Campbell is one of the news editors for The Sunflower. Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.

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