The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Eastern snow days: A history

Eastern’s tendency of never canceling classes because of weather-related issues has been broken again, nearly four years after its last snow day in 2007.

Bob Hillman, the university archivist, said that snow days are a rare occasion on Eastern’s campus, but has become more frequent over the last few years.

“This is just me speculating, but now there are a lot of off campus programs and people that travel around to and from off-campus sites,” Hillman said.

Classes were canceled Tuesday, as well as today, because of the administration’s fear of accumulated ice on trees falling on pedestrians.

If the decision to cancel classes is made during the night, the administration uses four notification channels to notify the campus.

Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said if the decision to cancel classes is made overnight, it is decided before 4 a.m.

“The idea is for everyone to see the post before 5 a.m., when many people leave their homes if they have to travel any distance,” Lord said.

Local television, e-mail blast, radio and the Eastern website are the four ways students can receive updates.

These procedures have been in place for seven years.

“When the call is made, we update the website,” Lord said. “We activate this when bad weather is in the area.”

But on Feb. 1, 1982, Charleston weather was so detrimental that Daniel E. Marvin, then president, decided to close Eastern’s campus when workers could not remove the reported 22 inches of snow from campus in time.

Most state highways were also closed that day.

“It makes no sense to leave the school open,” Marvin said in the 1982 issue of The Daily Eastern News.

Another Eastern campus closing can be dated back to 1977, when then President Martin Schaefer shut down campus for a full seven days after the Central Illinois Public Service put in a request.

CIPS’ request was issued to all large consumers of natural heating gas to ensure enough natural heating gas for the residents of Charleston.

The university allowed emergency student loans for students who did not have the money to go home for the seven-day cancellation.

Students without a place to go were relocated to the former East Hall.

Back in 2007, Lou Hencken, then president, canceled all classes after 11 a.m. because of 40 mph winds, falling ice and freezing rain.

Illinois is no stranger to cold weather and Eastern is well prepared for bad weather.

Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, was also on campus during the last Eastern snow day.

In the Feb. 15, 2007 issue of The Daily Eastern News, Nadler said, “Classes are usually only canceled in very, very bad weather, such as a tornado.”

Nike Ogunbodede can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

Eastern snow days: A history

Eastern snow days: A history

Illustration by Emily Steele


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