Personal Safety

MSU takes heat for staying open despite severe winter weather

MSU takes heat for staying open despite severe winter weather

EAST LANSING – Michigan State University didn’t close today. It hasn’t canceled classes. Instead, it posted a guide to staying warm on its website, advising the community to “always wear a coat, mittens or gloves and a hat” and to “keep an eye out for slippery conditions both indoors and out.” Which prompted students to vent their frustrations on Reddit and Twitter, many in words too profane to accompany this story. “Guess I’ll die for that 5% attendance grade,” wrote Reddit user uggmun in response to a thread noting MSU’s decision to share cold weather safety tips instead of canceling classes. MSU has closed due to winter weather only a handful of times in its more than 150 years of existence. Most recently, MSU canceled classes in January of 2014 due to severe winter weather. “The National Weather Service is forecasting continued cold temperatures for the next week,” a post on MSU’s website began . “There is a risk of frostbite from prolonged exposure to extreme cold weather conditions. During this time it is important to think about winter preparedness on a personal level.” The post went on to list tips for outdoor safety, travel, keeping buildings warm and where to report cold conditions and leaks. Another user, cometftw, commented that “pain is temporary…GPA is forever.” Inhospitable weather didn’t stop Courtney Pasek, 20, from walking 25 minutes to her physical anthropology class from work Monday morning. “It was manageable but definitely slippery and icy on the majority of sidewalks,” Pasek said, noting that there seemed to be few students on campus. Being from the Kalamazoo area, she’s no stranger to heavy snowfall. But the bitter wind chill, expected to only get worse throughout the week, has Pasek contemplating which days she’ll stay home from classes. “If they didn’t cancel today with multiple universities in the area closing, I’m not too optimistic about later in the week, but we’ll see.” Many students noted that their professors had taken action by canceling their own classes. MSU’s medical school campus in Grand Rapids, which is under a winter weather warning , was closed Monday, said spokesperson Emily Guerrant. She said cold temperatures are one of the biggest factors officials in East Lansing consider when deciding whether to close. In response to conditions Monday, MSU asked the Capital Area Transportation Authority to run additional bus routes to make sure people weren’t waiting for buses for a prolonged period of time. “If we need (more buses) other days this week, we would certainly negotiate that with CATA,” Guerrant added. Wind chills today could get as low as -11, according to the National Weather Service . Daytime snow accumulation of around eight inches is expected. Snowshowers are expected to continue through the night. Temperatures will likely plummet as the week progresses, with a forecasted high of -2 on Wednesday. Contact RJ Wolcott at (517) 377-1026 or rwolcott@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @wolcottr.

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