Castleton commuters struggle with bad weather policy


Many commuters believe that Castleton University hasn’t been taking them into account when deciding when to cancel classes during snowy weather.

When asked how she felt about traveling to school in less than ideal weather conditions, senior Tedi Albaitis, was quick to share a story.

“There was one day recently that I made it to campus in terrible weather and it was a scary drive. One of my professors cancelled because the roads were too bad for him to get to school. I think students who have to drive should have a less strict attendance expectation than students who only have to walk to classes because driving is more dangerous,” she said.

Asked how they made the decisions to come to school during these days or to skip, the answers varied.

“I usually look at the weather. If there has been a warning and I have a way to go I choose not to. If it’s a light storm or just a little snow, then I’ll go,” said Castleton senior, Caitlin Smith, who commutes over three hours each way, two days a week.

All commuters shared similar stories when it came to their schedule. In order to minimize their drive on a weekly basis they tried to fit their classes into as few days as possible.

Sophomore Hannah Williams, who travels an hour and a half for three classes four days a week, she tries hard to make class.

“I feel like I had an obligation to go because of how much classes are and how important it was for me to be there. If it was really bad, I had to skip class. My sister had to be at high school before I had to be at class. If she couldn’t make it in ten minutes, I can’t make the forty-five.”

In order to get the full perspective, each student was asked what they thought could be done to improve policy and satisfy commuters.

“Just pay attention to other school closings. If all of Rutland county has cancelled, why should we still have class?” Willams said. Albaitis proposed a completely different solution though.

“Maybe there could be a policy where if the weather is bad and classes are not cancelled, commuters could be excused from driving and be emailed assignments?” she said.

However, most professors are incredibly understanding when it comes to weather conditions and commuters.

“I think the school should stay open as much as possible and leave the decision to the individual. In the last fifteen years, I’ve cancelled class three times due to weather when the college remained open. I would never expect a student to come in if the trip wasn’t safe. I find that most of my students are pretty proactive about making up work – especially when the reason they miss is beyond their control,” said Castleton Media and Communications Professor Andrew Wilson. “I think as long as safety for everyone is the number one priority and making every attempt to stay open is made, that’s pretty good policy.”

Castleton’s Dean of Students Dennis Proulx said determining when to cancel can be tricky.

“I can’t figure out everybody’s circumstance. I have to do whatever it takes to ensure that our facility is successful, and when it’s not I’ll cancel. But everyone has to make their own decision. We’re a community of adults. So, we don’t have that same obligation as an elementary or high school for the buses, that’s a whole different level of thinking – which I don’t envy. So, I can’t make that decision for adults who are trying to come here.

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