After the recent cancellations of Burris Laboratory School, students question Ball State’s class cancellation policy, in the midst of subzero temperatures.
How cold is too cold for Ball State's administration?
At this time, there is no set, defined policy regarding class cancellations due to inclement weather. Classes will take place when “it is feasible to do so,” according to bsu.edu.
Jacquelyn Buckrop, the assistant to the provost, said Ball State’s Business Affairs and president work together to decide if classes will be canceled or delayed.
Because of the lack of a clear policy, students are kept in the dark regarding the university’s class cancellation process.
The university may cancel classes for a variety of reasons. Extreme weather conditions, such as large amounts of snowfall and dangerously low temperatures, have been factors in the past.
Last year, the temperature was 14 degrees below zero when classes were canceled. The wind chill was minus 30 degrees, according to Weather Underground.
However, at the university level, Ball State does not have to follow the same criteria that primary and secondary education systems have to follow. Primary and secondary education must consider means of transportation for their students, whereas universities do not. Ball State’s Burris Laboratory School and Muncie Community Schools have had a two-hour delay and two cancellations because of the weather this week.
Assistant Professor of Meteorology David Call said frostbite could occur within 30 minutes of exposure to minus 17 degrees wind chill.
Thursday morning, the wind chill for students walking to 8 a.m. classes was minus 24 degrees.
“When you get into the negative teens, that’s when you have to start being concerned – pretty serious,” Call said.
If a student were to suffer a cold weather related injury, such as frostbite or slipping on ice, the services provided by the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards are limited.
Attorney John Connor manages the office, but said any claim a student brings against Ball State is a conflict of interest for him.
“Anytime a student claim, or potential claim, involves Ball State, or a claim against another student, I cannot get involved,” Connor said.
Students seeking legal advice are told to find assistance beyond Ball State’s campus.
“I don’t make any referrals, but I suggest they see a lawyer that does not have my conflict [of interest],” Connor said.