How much does a snowday cost the student?

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How much does a college student have to pay for a snow day? That depends on how many classes a college student is enrolled in.

The current board policy at Washburn University regarding the Inclement Weather policy states, “The administrations shall establish regulations and procedures regarding delay, cancellation, or suspension of normal University operations during a period of extraordinary weather- or weather-related conditions (inclement weather).”

“Are frostbite warnings not inclement enough for class cancellations, @Washburn?” Some students have tweeted at Washburn in frustration. The heavy backlash that Washburn students are firing at the Washburn University social media is overbearingly affecting the faculty at Washburn. Some students are beginning to think that Washburn does not care about the well-being of students because of the lack of class cancellations that Washburn has had during this couple of weeks that Topeka has experiencing extreme weather. Some students who commute to class are baffled and claim to of had pondered upon the choice between life or test, ‘should I take the risk and fight my way to class to make it to my exam, or spare my life and keep myself safe at home.”

Eric Grospitch, the vice president for student life explained that, “it’s very frustrating to think that these people [on social media with negative feedback] think that these decisions are being made without compassion or care, because if there’s anything that I’ve seen at Washburn is that people care about each other. That language is hurtful.”

Supposedly, if a student is enrolled in four classes, two of which fall on a snow day; then that student has now fallen behind schedule for two separate classes and now has extra work piled on top of their already busy schedule. If a student is enrolled in a ‘one-day-a-week’ class which falls on a snow day, then that student is behind an entire week of class. Student attendance does not only affect the students, it affects the faculty. The faculty at Washburn has fallen anxious as the ice storms continue to strike Topeka affecting their students’ attendance which essentially affects the faculty when they are trying to cover certain material.

“It’s their call whether they[the students] want to come or not, it’s our responsibility to provide the service.” Eric Grospitch explained that students have a choice, faculty don’t have so much of the same choice as their dedication to providing for the students is top priority. “We care about our students and we care to provide the service that you’ve paid for.”

The average college student enrolled at Washburn University is expected to pay about 20,000 dollars for a full four years of college tuition, if that student fails a class, then that failed class essentially adds on a replacement semester to help fill in the gaps of the failed class, hence more money and more time in college.

If a student is falls on campus during a day where the campus is slippery, Eric Grospitch encourages students to report when and where their fall happened and to get a better evaluation at student health services to ensure that the student is not injured.

Grospitch explained, “We want to know because when we can identify spaces that are slicker than others. Our staff is out treating and doing the best that they can. I would rather know that it [a fall] has happened than not know.”

Students are encouraged to always keep communication with their professors during a high weather alert day. Eric Grospitch explained, “If you don’t feel comfortable, I can’t make you come and I can’t tell you not to, it’s your [the students] call.’

Washburn University is actively trying to better accommodate both students and faculty for threatening weather conditions. However, it is unrealistic for Washburn to reconfigure a permanent weather policy. Hypothetically, if Washburn University had a plan in place that stated, “Campus will be closed if we receive two inches or more of snow.” Then the weather policy would not be applicable during ice storms where there is not two inches of snow on the ground. Hence the current weather policy, “The administrations shall establish regulations regarding delay, cancellation, or suspension of normal University operations.” Cancellations depend on the severity of the weather; each unique weather storm requires a specific protocol.

Eric Grospitch described the dedication that designated faculty have to ensure that students can get the most of their education whilst still staying safe and getting to school safely. “Any time we have weather incidents, we try to look at what City of Topeka and Shawnee county and emergency management is telling us related to roads and road conditions and so forth. We look at what can our facility staff legitimately get cleaned up and ready to go.” Grospitch explained that staff is on campus as early as 4:30 in the morning to eyeball the sidewalks to help determine the safety of the institution, however, weather changes and the weather can look safe at 4:30 in the morning in comparison to 7 in the morning.

Washburn has approximately five miles of sidewalk on campus.

Grospitch explains, “I can tell you that there is faculty and staff that would rather just have snow days, it’s not that we’re all wanting to be here too, it’s that you’re [the students] are paying us for a service, we should be providing that service.”

Eric Grospitch encourages you to talk to your faculty if you don’t feel safe coming class, communication is the better foundation for students to uphold the sustainability of your grades and course material but concludes with, “We really do care about our students.” Grospitch concluded that he hopes that students know what they are more comfortable in doing and he hopes that students can make the safer and better choice for themselves.