Classes canceled because of safety reasons

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

Classes were canceled Wednesday for the first time in two years because of heavy snowfall and high wind gusts.

The National Weather Service in Lincoln reported blizzard conditions for Coles County.

Residents can expect to see up to six inches of snowfall and wind gusts of up to 45 mph.

Blair Lord, the vice president for academic affairs, made the decision to cancel classes and said it rarely happens at Eastern.

“The running joke was that we never cancel classes,” Lord said.

Unlike the public school system, Lord said the university does not have to bus people in and therefore students can easily make it to their classes.

“We have a whole bunch of people living here, a significant portion of students on campus, so we want to provide them with their education,” Lord said.

However, since there are students, faculty and staff who have to commute from far distances, Lord said he had to think about student and employee safety.

“I was up at 4:30 a.m. watching the National Weather Service and looking out my window trying to decide if classes would be canceled,” Lord said.

Before 7 a.m., it started to snow heavily and Lord made the call to cancel classes.

Lord said although people are expected to get to work, the decision to cancel classes was a judgment call based on safety.

“Is it realistic to expect (employees and students) to make it to campus?” Lord said.

Lord said the decision to cancel classes was also based on the timing and severity of the weather event.

He said if the storm hit early in the morning then the morning classes would be canceled and if the storm happened in the afternoon then afternoon classes would be canceled.

This one storm was really tricky, Lord said, because it was sudden and lasted all day.

“It was just one of those calls,” Lord said. “We had to make sure there was no struggle for people to get to campus.”

Paul McCann, the interim vice president for business affairs, said safety is their first priority, and they wanted to make sure their employees were safe to travel.

Although the classes were canceled, the university was still open, and McCann said that is why he came to work.

“We got a lot of things to do, and it doesn’t matter if it’s snowing out,” McCann said.

McCann said the best place for students in this weather is their residence halls because it is warm.

“In general, we prefer to have classes available so students have something to do and get the education they paid for,” Lord said. “At the end of the day, we make our best judgment but we always tell students to use their best judgment as well.”


Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]