Policies, Petitions, and Publicity

Written by Megan Raines

Reported by Alyssa Crowley

Policies are important to how any organization, company, or University works. Without policies the structure of how we run Malone University would be flimsy. Recently many of the faculty and students are getting familiar with the Inclement Weather Policy. This policy is about how Malone handles delays and cancellations due to weather.

“I send [the weather policy] out in late November whenever the first snow is about to fall which is usually not bad enough to trigger it, but that’s the first time people actively think about snow,” said Nathan Phinney, Provost. “We try to take into account the commuter population and try to take into account how the roads are around us a little bit. But it’s really difficult because I have people who drive from South, a few people from Cleveland, West, and East. It’s really hard to know how roads will be there and so the assumption is that the individuals who are coming to Malone for work or school are adults and are able to access their own situation and ability to get here safely.”

Movability and accessibility are two things that are looked at in regards to delays and cancellations. The goal is to fulfill the accreditation requirements of student hours but also maintain safety of students and staff.

In beginning of the Spring semester, we have had one delay on January 24th and two days of no classes, January 30th and 31st. The delay was issued for ice and snow, however the story of the two cancellations is much more notable. January 30th and 31st were not particularly snowy or icy, people were actually worried about the extreme cold weather.

“Since I have been here temperature has not been something in 14 years that has led us to close,” said Phinney.

The reports of the weather were broadcasted in advance, but in response to the predictions at first the Provost office sent an email out on January 28th that encouraged students to bundle up and trek through. They even tried to offer up hats to those who needed one. But the response was not anything they could have predicted. The Provost office got many emails, phone calls, tweets, and even a petition.

The petition was made by a student, Cameron Ingram, junior sport management major, on Change.org The goal posted for signatures was 500 but it exceeded that amount and had around 585. The creator of the petition made it for the sake of everyone who felt the same way about avoiding the arctic temperatures. News about the petition spread fast through social media. Also news about Malone not cancelling classes at first, went on the Channel 5 news, and it also spread a lot on Twitter. Chief meteorologist of Channel 5 news, Mark Johnson, commented about the email sent out and said that this was the, “Coldest stretch of weather since 1994.” He also requested to have one of the hats that were offered. Everyone was putting their feelings and thoughts about why classes should be cancelled, weather man and people who signed the petition like Hayley Ellers.

“I was hoping we would be heard,” said Hayley Ellers, senior zoo and biology major.

January 29th around dinner time school was cancelled for the 30th. The next day the 31st was also cancelled. Was school cancelled because of the phone calls? Twitter? People like Ellers, Ingram, and Johnson? Emails? Or the petition? Although many students thanked Johnson on Twitter (he even got a Malone hat to represent), the answer is all of the above.

The Provost was highly impressed with students speaking up and sharing their opinions.

“Some [responses] were very unkind, others were thoughtfully worded but all of it was important. The thing I was most happy about was that students spoke up,” said Phinney.

Phinney even said that he ended up signing the petition himself.

“I feel like we all have a voice and our opinions matter,” said Ingram.

Overall this was a great representation of how policies are always molding to the situation. The Provost office was doing their job of trying to make sure that students are still getting their education and hours in, but they also kept their policy of safety first.

“[We are a] learning community, we all have things to learn,” said Phinney.

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