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Snow days push some classes to Saturday
University officials announced that a “make-up period” will be held Saturday morning for some of the classes missed last week when snowy weather shut the university down.
On Saturday, classes normally scheduled for 5 p.m. on Wednesdays will meet at 8:30 a.m. and classes normally scheduled for 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Wednesdays will meet at 10:30 a.m., according to an e-mail sent out to faculty members from the Academic Affairs office. All other missed classes “may” be made up at the professor’s discretion, according to the e-mail.
“We have heard from faculty and students that this loss of class time has been very detrimental to learning goals in a number of classes,” Edward J. Kavanagh, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said in the e-mail, provided by Senior Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs Mark Thompson.
Professors are responsible for informing students if the class will be meeting for a make-up session.
“We’re working with the faculty and the students and so forth as a way of ensuring that they are getting their money’s worth, in light of all the cancellations that we have had,” Thompson said.
Wednesday night classes have yet to meet this semester, Thompson pointed out. They’ve missed two full weeks and the university said instructors “should” use the make-up period this weekend, he said.
“I know many students and parents that are upset with the closings we have had,” said Chris Hart, a sophomore biology major. “I have only been to one out of four of my classes, so I think that since I am paying for this education, I should be getting it.”
In the first eight days of classes this semester, Quinnipiac had two snow days and two early closings due to winter weather. Two snow storms and an ice storm created dangerous travel conditions and lots of work the university.
“This is absolutely the worst five weeks we’ve ever had,” Associate Vice President for Facilities Administration Joseph Rubertone said. “It’s the advent of a 15-inch snow storm, a 10-inch snow storm, a 24-inch snow storm and then an 18-inch snow storm with no thaw or melting in between. It’s a set of conditions that has never occurred before.”
Rubertone has worked at Quinnipiac for 37 years, and he said this was one of the worst winters as far as snow cleanup.
“The school’s decision [to cancel classes] makes sense,” Hart said. “This is one of the worst winters we’ve had, and the school should have been closed due to the weather. If the school wasn’t closed, many teachers wouldn’t have come in anyway and if they did, there would have been dangerous conditions that would have put peoples’ safety at risk.”
Thompson, Rubertone, and Keith Woodward, director of facilities operations, comprise the team who make the decision to close the university due to inclement weather.
There are two main factors they take into account when making a decision. They evaluate if the “campus is in shape to handle the daily commute,” including parking lots and walkways, and they consult “the general weather forecast to see what it’s going to do over the course of the day, and what the road conditions are like for the morning commute,” Rubertone said.
Many times the decision to close the university has more to do with the roads off campus then it has to do with the conditions on campus, Rubertone said. They keep the commuter students in mind when assessing the road safety.
“Obviously we are probably already through our snow budget,” Rubertone said. “But we need to plow the snow. So we will go back, as appropriate, and reshuffle what we have to in our accounts. We will make an appeal for more funding, if necessary. It has been a costly winter.”
There are grounds supervisors on all three of Quinnipiac’s campuses who manage the snow cleanup process. They each have unique snow plans, equipment and snow routes. During heavy snow when there is major cleanup to do, Quinnipiac utilizes all of its grounds crews and supplement them with mechanical staff.
“I am very proud of the job that our people do on snow,” Rubertone said. “If you paid attention to the snow removal, most reasonable people would agree those guys keep the roads pretty clean and pretty safe.”