Inside Iowa State
Dec. 12, 1997
Iowa State rarely closes
by Linda Charles
There's a blizzard outside, the temperature barely registers on the thermometer and the streets are covered in ice. Do you bundle up and head for work or snuggle under your blankets?
Iowa State faculty and staff know that, usually, they'll need to grab a shovel and clear a path because the university rarely closes. Even if classes are canceled because of weather, the university generally remains open and faculty and staff are expected to report to work, said Warren Madden, vice president for business and finance.
If the university is closed, most faculty and staff do not need to report. However, some staff in critical areas (such as food service, security, power plant, animal care and snow and ice removal) are expected to work, he said. And all staff will need to make up time lost during the closing, according to the terms of their employment or, for those covered by it, the collective bargaining agreement.
Commuting faculty, staff and students always are encouraged to put safety first when making their travel decisions, Madden said. During severe weather, faculty are asked to accommodate students unable to attend class and supervisors are asked to accommodate employees who need to adjust work schedules.
Madden said he frequently gets asked why the university continues to operate when public school districts and other organizations close. He said his response includes several considerations:
- Although an increasing number of students are part-time and commuting students, the majority of ISU students live within walking distance of campus or CyRide routes, which usually continue to operate in severe weather.
- The majority of students are adults legally and should make their own decisions about travel.
- The university doesn't have make-up days in its calendar as do most public schools. Consequently, administrators are reluctant to close except under extremely severe conditions.
- ISU officials expect students to dress adequately to travel to campus and between classes.
Once a decision has been made to cancel classes or close the university, local and statewide media will be notified immediately. Priority will be given to radio and TV stations in central Iowa in order to reach the maximum number of people as quickly as possible, he said.
In addition, all announcements will be posted on Iowa State's homepage: www.iastate.edu. (Remember to frequently reload the page to receive the latest information.)
University policies on inclement weather can be found in the university's Office Procedure Guide and in a winter storm emergency parking plan memo (dated Nov. 3, 1997) that outlines the priorities for clearing parking areas.
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