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CSU School Closing Decisions Have Some Students Upset

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The snowy scene on the Colorado State University campus on Wednesday. (credit: CBS)

The snowy scene on the Colorado State University campus on Wednesday. (credit: CBS)

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Some students at Colorado State University in Fort Collins say they aren’t happy with a decision by campus officials during this week’s heavy snowstorms in Northern Colorado.

Student Arielle Furst told CBS4 she thinks the decision on Wednesday to close campus at midday was frustrating. She and at least one other student a CBS4 crew spoke with said they weren’t so sure there should have been classes at all on Wednesday, considering the weather conditions. One student said he saw students slipping and falling on the campus in the morning.

University spokesman Mike Hooker told CBS4 the school has to “balance our responsibility for students’ education and our responsibility for the safety of the campus community.” He said the decision to cancel classes at noon, which was made by the school’s Public Safety Team, was due to unexpected changing conditions.

Normally the school makes its decision on whether to hold classes if there is bad weather in the forecast at 5:15 a.m. However, they do reconvene sometimes during the day if conditions change, and that was what happened on Wednesday. The school also called off classes on Monday after 3 p.m. when heavy snow was falling.

“As the morning wore on and the snow picked up we started thinking, ‘Now, the weather has changed,’ ” Hooker said, referring to Wednesday’s call. “At that point we decided we needed to take another look at the situation.”

But Furst said the road conditions on Wednesday morning in the Fort Collins area were some of the worst she’s seen, and she disagrees that things weren’t already bad enough to have no school at the beginning of the day.

“They knew what was coming. They knew that the snow was going to get bad. They should have canceled it earlier. They are called the Public Safety Team, and I don’t think they care about our safety,” she said.

“We absolutely care,” Hooker said.

“This is a top-notch university where people are here for an education, and they expect that of us. So unless there’s a compelling reason to close — which sometimes there is — we’re going to have classes,” Hooker said.

Hooker said the Public Safety Team consults with the city of Fort Collins, Larimer County officials and the Poudre Valley School District before the CSU president makes the final decision.

The University of Colorado in Boulder also made a middle-of-the-day decision to close campus this week. Classes were canceled on Monday at 2 p.m. as the snow piled up.

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