Snowzilla 2014, Shut It Down

Students Hope University Officials Review Inclement Weather Procedures for Future


Snowzilla 2014 made landfall in Carrollton leaving snow and ice on the ground for three days. However, the students at the University of West Georgia are upset with university officials after making the decision to close school 30 minutes after snowfall hit campus. Students were left to believe that the university and its officials lacked in communication, safety and concern for its students during inclement weather conditions.

While the media continues to blame elected officials such as Gov. Nathan Deal and City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed—students at the university should not feel bad for holding university officials accountable for their actions during last week’s storm. These officials are responsible for keeping the students safe, but they are also responsible for communicating with students regarding procedures and policies.

The night before the storm, local news stations such as WSB-TV and WXIA-TV reported the possibility of a “dusting” in the Carroll County area. The day of the snowstorm, conditions advanced. The National Weather Service predicted one to two inches of snow possibly mixed with sleet for the area.

The morning of the storm, university officials dropped the ball and failed to communicate with students regarding the procedures of inclement weather. No communication was sent out to students during the early morning hours of Jan. 28, and students were still expected to attend class as normal.  According to university procedures, UWG makes the decisions of the opening and closings at 6 a.m. the day of weather events.

Mid-morning around 10:30 a.m. the university sent students information on the weather conditions, and decided to close the university at 12:30 noon. Students were in class, headed to class or commuting to campus. Although, class went on as normal until 11:40 a.m., snow began falling earlier than expected, leaving the university to send another email telling students to leave campus as soon as possible.

After Tuesday, the university remained closed for two days. Classes were back in session on Friday, however, the buses stopped operation mid-morning.

It is obvious that university officials underestimated the weather conditions expected that day. However, after this snowstorm, the university should thoroughly consider changing its current inclement weather policies. If the buses were not able to run on Friday, what makes officials think that students who commute would be able to drive on icy road conditions? That obviously was not a gesture of care for students.

Many of the students at UWG are commuter students. I happen to fall within this percentage of students, and that day, I had to make a decision to protect my safety because the university obviously did not take my safety nor anyone else’s on that day.

Although it felt great to not have classes for a couple of days, it leaves students to question the university and challenge them to investigate and change the current inclement weather conditions. I just hope that next time inclement weather makes landfall on campus that the university officials think about its students first.



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