Weather safety needs more transparency

Kernel Editorial Board

Last week, while universities across the state shut down for nearly two days, UK saw mere cancellations of evening and morning classes.

Closings were not only prevalent across the state, but even right here in Lexington most high schools and organizations shut down.

There are reasons for UK to try and remain open, ranging from financial reasons to the need for professors to maintain their strict course schedules. However, whatever the reasons for cancelling or remaining open, UK needs to develop a sense of transparency on the issue.

According to a Jan. 13 Kernel article, Christy Giles, UK Office of Emergency Management director, said UK’s policy is to remain open unless there are severe safety concerns for students and faculty.

While Plan B does a sufficient job clearing campus itself, UK doesn’t seem to take into consideration the commute that many students and faculty face to come to campus each day, which pose severe safety concerns.

The article also said UK’s removal plan only extends to the end of the university’s property line, and students living outside of that line must rely on the city to clear the streets.

Giles said the decision to cancel classes lies with Frank Butler, executive vice president of the Office of Finance and Administration. However, there are no set guidelines defining when UK will cancel class.

Officials simply take into consideration information from the National Weather Service, UK Police and UK Physical Plant Division. But, what this ignores are the roads that students living further from UK’s campus are forced to navigate.

As far as the lack of transparency on the issue, it should also be made clear why exactly Frank Butler is responsible for making the decision rather than Vice President for Public Safety Anthany Beatty.

Students should understand the importance of making it to as many classes as possible, but making snow bunny jokes via the official UK twitter isn’t going to make students fishtailing their way to campus feel any better. Especially when they arrive only to find out their professors have canceled their class anyway.