Students question abbreviated snow day schedule

Story by Isabel Ashley, Staff Writer

Baker’s campus has experienced a slew of winter weather and several cancellations this past semester.

One of the most recent occurrences of inclement weather on the night of Feb. 19 left many students and faculty frustrated with the solution of a delayed and shortened schedule the following day. The schedule shifted the earliest class to be at 10:30 a.m., shortening all classes by 15 minutes.

This schedule caused a ripple of effects across campus, from teachers cancelling their own classes to students scrambling to fix their work schedules.

Take sophomore Abby Brockman for example. Brockman is planning on studying pharmacology at UMKC next year, and as part of her preparation, she works as a pharmacy technician at Auburn Pharmacy in Baldwin City during the afternoon.

“The pharmacy is kind of short-handed, and 3 [p.m.] is when the rush hour starts, so it doesn’t help if I’m rushing in and late,” Brockman said.

She responded to an email sent by Dean of Students Cassy Bailey about the delayed schedule, asking how to handle her work conflict. Brockman said her purpose was not to criticize or point fingers but to bring up the issue of work-schedule conflicts in the delayed schedule.

Student Senate Sophomore Class President Dylan Kort first heard about the delayed schedule through his fraternity’s group chat and saw it as an opportunity to take action. He met with the Student Senate executive team, Assistant Director of Student Life Josh Doak and many students to compile a list of events that occurred that day.

The goal of this list, according to Kort, is to show the administrators in charge of cancellations that the faculty and students feel ignored and that a delayed start is a better option.

“Hopefully they’ll recognize that students and faculty should have a bit more of an input,” Kort said.

According to Darcy Russell, dean of the college of arts and sciences, the policy for weather cancellations was actually created this year after the first snow day occurred. Because Kansas has not experienced such repetitive severe weather in several years, new administrators like Dean Russell were somewhat left in the dark on how to proceed.

“Going to class is very important. It’s the highest of importance, but it is not of higher importance than human safety, and so we’re trying to balance those things,” Russell said.

However, finding that balance is proving to be more difficult than expected. Russell stated that most of the pushback over the delayed schedule came from students, mostly due to conflicts with the cafeteria schedule.

After trying the delayed start again on Feb. 27, Russell received several complaints from professors about cancelling their early morning classes. Many professors preferred the delayed schedule because now, their morning classes have not met for the third time this semester.

Looking forward, Russell assures that cancellation procedures will improve as administrators look at different proposals.

Susan Emel, professor of communication studies, fell victim to the icy conditions on Feb. 6 that led to a campus shutting down. Emel reflected on the disruptive nature of school cancellations and how it can leave one feeling powerless in maintaining a routine.

“We all know how to blame someone for adding more chaos to our lives…but that won’t help us feel much better. Taking control and paying attention to the things we can control seem to me to be a much better use of energy,” Emel said.