In order for student safety to truly become the priority in inclement weather conditions, Texas State administrators need to adhere the new regulations they set for such situations and inform the community of any campus delays or closures in a timely manner.
In a Feb. 5 University Star Main Point, the editorial board urged university officials to be prompt when communicating information about closures instead of waiting to make an announcement until around 5 a.m., as was the case Jan. 24. Many students travel to Texas State from nearby cities such as Austin or San Antonio. On icy days, commuters deserve enough time to decide whether to risk navigating the slick roadways where hundreds of wrecks were reported in the past few weeks.
Thankfully, administrators announced new set of weather procedures later in the day Feb. 5. According to a Feb. 6 University Star article, the new procedures implement regularly scheduled conference calls with administrators to make decisions regarding campus closures, and students will be notified of their conclusions by 2 a.m.
In the past week, the university has shown an effort to reform the previously unreliable inclement weather system that left many commuters out in the cold earlier this semester. However, all the kinks in the new system have not been ironed out just yet.
Last Thursday, students were not notified via emergency text or email until around 5 a.m. that the campus would have a delayed opening despite the 2 a.m. promise. Even though delays are less serious than an outright campus closure, it is imperative officials follow the procedures they developed to manage such situations.
Telling the campus community they will be notified of any cancellations or delays by 2 a.m. practically guarantees that the entire student body will be staying up until that hour checking their emails and posting anxious tweets and Facebook messages. It did not look good for anyone when students grumbled and complained on social media about how the university did not notify them by 2 a.m. like they were told. The editorial board acknowledges and understands that Texas weather is unpredictable and forecasts can change by the minute, but if students are told an announcement will be made by 2 a.m., it needs to be made at that time. Even a message saying the situation is still being assessed would be appreciated.
University officials did a much better job of putting the new procedures into action for Friday’s inclement weather conditions. A text message and email were disseminated around 11 p.m. Thursday night, informing students the university’s opening would be delayed until 12 p.m. Friday. The announcement regarding the delay allowed commuters adequate time to adjust their morning alarms or possibly completely alter their Friday plans if all their classes were suddenly canceled.
University officials were wise to put student safety first by implementing new procedures for adverse weather conditions. However, there is no excuse for tardy announcements regarding campus closures and delays. As President Denise Trauth said in the same University Star article, “(Officials are) very, very committed to Texas State being a safe place.” With about a week of the new system under their belt, it is time for officials to buckle down and ensure the new procedures are properly carried out for any future icy days.