Facilities does ‘tremendous job’ clearing snow

By on February 12, 2014

Quinnipiac has seen its share of cancelled classes due to snowfall this year, but the university tries to stay open, despite poor weather conditions, according to administration.

snowonlineMegan Maher

“It is Quinnipiac’s policy to remain open under adverse weather conditions such as snowstorms, so that the university may meet its responsibilities to all its students,” Keith Woodward, associate vice president for facilities operations, said in an email.

The facilities department meets days ahead of a predicted snowstorm to prepare, Woodward said. They review information with outside contractors, alert the internal staff about the storm and make sure the university has the necessary materials to clear the snow, according to Woodward.

“Each snow storm or weather event is different in terms of the time it hits,” Woodward said. “How much snow is expected, when it will end, what are the conditions going to be later in the day/evening?”

There are 30 to 40 university employees in charge of removing snow.

“Quinnipiac is fortunate to have a dedicated staff in the Facilities Department that does a tremendous job to restore the university’s operations back to normal as quickly and as safely as possible,” Woodward said

The university does not discuss the cost of clearing the snow, according to Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan.

Junior resident assistant Juan Mendez said Quinnipiac makes it convenient for students to make it to class when it snows.

“I think that QU does a great job of cleaning the snow,” he said. “The presence of the facilities workers working in teams helps get the job done faster, which is great. The last thing we need is someone falling and a big lawsuit happening.”

The university cancels classes too often, according to freshman Sarah Marceca.

“As much as I like having snow days, I think they cancel too much,” she said. “I know they cancel it because of the people that have to drive to class, but as far as us who walk to class it’s not a big deal at all.”

Emmino said the university cancels classes accordingly.

“[The university] waited the other day for the snowstorm until like 1 p.m. when it got bad,” she said. “They didn’t just cancel it the whole day, so I thought that like they were still trying to get in the classes that they could.”

Media studies and public speaking professor Genifer Herman drives 30 minutes to campus five days a week. She said there have been commutes to Quinnipiac when there are dangerous road conditions.

Herman makes sure she is prepared with all wheel drive and anti-lock brakes on her car.

“I’ve had a couple of commutes that were tricky, just from being slippery, but you know what, I’ve got everything I need to get me where I need to go,” she said.

Herman said the university does a good job of alerting students and teachers about cancelling class. Herman alerts her students with emails to update them about work when class is cancelled.

“Either you get behind on your syllabus, or you have to consolidate some information,” she said. “But you build in where you can play catch up. It’s New England in the winter.

Marceca said her professors have posted assignments on Blackboard to make up for missed class time. Marceca has had take-home quizzes instead of in-class quizzes, she said.

Although cancelling class may not be ideal for the university or its faculty, Herman has come to accept it.

 “It’s fine because it comes with the territory,” she said.

 Mendez said his professors have not altered class in any major way when it was cancelled.

 “My professor would just edit the syllabus to make it fit within the time frame we had,” he said. “The classes I missed weren’t really a big deal. I just read the book and I was all caught up.”

Mark Thompson, the executive vice president and provost, makes the decision to close the university when bad weather occurs, according to Woodward.

 Mendez said the snow doesn’t affect his daily life outside of class besides spending a good amount of time shoveling his car out of the parking lot.

Emmino said the university should tell students about cancelled classes sooner.

“I think they should [cancel class] the night before,” she said. “If I have to get stuff done, it’s just nice to know I don’t have to worry about it, if they just tell me in advance.”

As an RA, Mendez suggests the university should warn students of cancellations as close to class time as possible.

“I think it’s smart when the university warns students in the morning instead of at night because if they warn students at night then students will have an obligatory sense that they have to go party.” he said.

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