On Monday, April 3, 2017 severe weather, including thunderstorms and a tornado, passed through Carrollton and the University of West Georgia specifically. The severe weather had been predicted by major news outlets days before the weather came in and showed that the storms would be hitting Carroll County along with the surrounding counties, that are home to a large number of the schools commuter students. After the first storm cell tore through Carrollton with another storm on its way, the students and staff at UWG received an email from the university stating that although there is still a severe weather watch classes are not cancelled. Many students then took to twitter to voice their concerns towards the university’s decision to keep classes in session.
The email advised students and staff to use their own judgement regarding their own safety. It also stated that students may have a difficult time traveling to campus because of downed trees and other obstacles. A student at UWG tweeted a picture of the email from the school with the caption “It sounds like the apocalypse is happening outside, but we want you to still go to class,” (@notyourForte). One professor emailed his students following up the email sent by the school to let his students know he was cancelling class for the day because of the tornado warnings and watches. A student tweeted a screenshot of the professor’s email with the caption “Update: one professor here at UWG is not ridiculous,” (@peytonmthayer).
Commuter students make up 75 percent of the University of West Georgia’s student body. Given these statistics many students thought that UWG would cancel classes for the day considering more severe weather was predicted for later that day, and the damage that was done to the surrounding roads and communities. With the unpredictable weather on this day some students were not willing to drive to campus and risk their safety. One student tweeted “Students: There’s a flood. I can’t get to campus. #UWG: The second and third floors are not flooded. Classes are not cancelled. Find a boat,” (@iAmL_Mo). Another student tweeted “UWG is gonna say we still have class, just drive past the tornado,” (@BMauldy).
Many students took to twitter about the email that was sent out by the University and the severe weather and it caught the eye of CBS 46. The station then wrote an article about the students tweets on UWG not cancelling classes, that went viral on social media outlets.
The following Wednesday, April 7, more severe weather was predicted for Carroll County. UWG sent out an email on Tuesday evening cancelling classes on Wednesday. The University also took to twitter and tweeted about the closing of campus as well as tagging major news outlets twitter accounts, including CBS 46, to make them aware of the decision to close campus due to severe weather.
Although students were upset that classes were not cancelled by the University on April 3rd they did seem pleased with UWG’s decision to cancel classes on April 5th. One student tweeting “Glad UWG cancelled classes, I wasn’t going regardless but I’m glad my fellow wolves will be safe too, #UWG,” (@SummerLeighann).