Shepherd University decided to cancel classes and close campus on October 29 – 30 due to severe weather caused by Hurricane Sandy, a decision was made by the executive staff of the university administration. Students were not upset by the decision. Sophomore English education major Kathleen Bechtold said she would have had to drive an hour and a half on rural back-roads to get back to campus from her weekend job.
Bechtold said, “I’d already decided not to risk it, and was wholly grateful to find my classes canceled so I didn’t miss material. Plus, it gave me a chance to catch up on work. Completely in favor of the cautious approach to cancellations.”
Alan Perdu of the university’s general counsel states that one of the main reasons for canceling Monday early on was to allow many resident students to stay at home with their parents rather than to be stuck in the residence halls during the storm. Another reason was the looming possibility of having to clean up storm damage amongst a campus full of students.
Diane Melby, vice president for advancement and interim vice president of academic affairs, said in an email to Shepherd’s faculty that the staff recognized that having fewer students on campus would improve their ability to respond to any weather-related emergencies.
Commuters were also grateful for the cancellations.
Vicky Faith, junior English major, said “I was surprised that it was canceled early, but I was glad it was because I’m a commuter.”
Students are aware that Shepherd University rarely cancels. Shifts in administrative positions could account for the early cancellations. Perdue said the inclement weather policy for Shepherd has not changed substantively for several years.
School was also canceled for Tuesday because many predictions for extensive damage were received, according to Melby’s email. Shepherd’s campus was fortunate, however, only sustaining very negligible tree damage from the hurricane.
Perdue said, “With the information that was progressively available, the University feels that the right choices were made.”
The process, he said, of assessing whether to cancel classes and/or close campus necessarily involves a subjective as well as objective review of weather conditions, campus conditions, and community and regional conditions.