The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Point/Counterpoint | Should the university have more inclement weather days?

Opinions Contributor Shelley Mishra stands against more inclement weather days, while Opinions Contributor Jordan Coates calls for more.
University+of+Iowa+student+Thumini+Dias+watches+snowfall+for+the+first+time+on+the+UI+campus+in+Iowa+City+on+Tuesday%2C+Jan.+9%2C+2024.+A+snowstorm+swept+across+Iowa+on+Jan.+9%2C+and+Iowa+City+reported+15+inches+of+snow+as+of+8+p.m.+that+day.
Grace Smith
University of Iowa student Thumini Dias watches snowfall for the first time on the UI campus in Iowa City on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. A snowstorm swept across Iowa on Jan. 9, and Iowa City reported 15 inches of snow as of 8 p.m. that day.

NO

The university does not need to have more inclement weather days. The administration has an ‘Extreme Weather Protocol’  which clearly states the policies regarding absences in extreme weather conditions.

Operations that are indispensable for the community such as meals, health care and transportation continue to run even in the inclement weather days.

The hours of operation may be changed, but they go on with their services because they are related to the health and wellbeing of the students and staff. If these operations continue, there would not be issues for students who want to go to class. If these services are suspended, only then should attendance to class be reconsidered.

It may be argued that after the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel accustomed to online classes, but they are incomparable to in- person lectures. Interpersonal interactions and experiential learning are some additional benefits of in-person lectures.

The CAMBUS continues to operate in most weather conditions and is accessible to students in most parts of the campus. If CAMBUS can keep going with its services safely, students can commute without missing important lectures and projects. Iowa City Transit also provides transportation for students who live off-campus, and as per policy, students may inform the staff in case of suspension of service or safety issues.

Ultimately, inclement weather days have more negatives than positives, and we do not need more of them.

YES

Have you ever had to climb up steep hills in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, only to sit in poorly air-conditioned, stuffy buildings for over an hour? Or maybe you’ve been unlucky enough to slip on black ice while walking to your lecture in sub-zero temperatures.

For good reason, the University of Iowa has canceled classes for the first time in over a decade due to blizzards and extreme plunging temperatures.

The reality is that central Iowa gets a handful of snowstorms and extreme weather days per year and classes have been canceled only once, years ago, and that was only for the afternoon classes on a Thursday. Students should not have to use their unexcused absences just to prioritize their safety, and university employees should not have to choose between their well-being and their paychecks.

It is the university’s job to make this decision for them and to make it in a manner that prioritizes people. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students and professors have become accustomed to Zoom and other methods of accommodating learning.

With the effects of climate change, we will unfortunately see an increase in extreme weather phenomena. Therefore, the needs to allow its students to learn or postpone learning in a manner that keeps their students and employees safe and healthy.

 


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


 

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About the Contributors
Shelley Mishra, Opinions Columnist
(she/her/hers)
Shelley Mishra is a first-year student at the University of Iowa, pursuing her degree in Neuroscience (Hons.).
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
she/her/hers
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.