Snow Day

Jay Lively

When Joyce Duncan and Ashley Huff woke up to find a snow-covered ground outside their window yesterday morning, the roommates jumped up and down on their beds in celebration.

But they were soon disappointed to learn that their classes for the day were not canceled — yet.

Duncan, a junior from Elizabethtown, resumed her frolic once she found out that all of her classes after 10 a.m. were called off.

“I took off running down the hall screaming out, ‘Class is canceled, class is canceled!'” Duncan said.

Huff, a Louisville sophomore, was equally enthused.

“It’s great,” Huff said. “We’re going to make a snowman and go sledding.”

Western officials decided at 8:30 yesterday morning to cancel all classes that met after 10 a.m. The cancellation marked the first time the university has called off classes since 1996.

Traditionally, Western’s weather-closing procedures call for a decision to cancel classes to be made no later than 6 a.m.

But weather conditions at 5:30 a.m. yesterday did not warrant a cancellation, President Gary Ransdell said.

“By 8:30, conditions had worsened and we needed to consider the safety of faculty, staff and students who were trying to navigate the roads,” Ransdell said.

The National Weather Service in Louisville reported Bowling Green and the surrounding area had received four inches of snow by noon yesterday, and forecasted an additional 1-2 inches would fall by today.

With three days of classes left before finals week, the season’s first winter storm came at an inconvenient time for some.

Gustavo Obeso, a Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies instructor, said yesterday’s cancellation worried him because he had planned a review session for finals.

“It could be good for students if they don’t procrastinate and begin preparing for the upcoming finals and use their time wisely,” Obeso said. “It’s still the same for me. I still have to work.”

According to John Osborne, vice president for Campus Services and Facilities, Western has historically tried to conduct classes during inclement weather because of the large number of students that live on campus.

“It’s been quite some time since we’ve closed classes in the middle of the week,” Osborne said. “Usually closings come at the end of a weekend or holiday, when we have to consider those traveling from out of town.”

The late decision to call off classes was welcomed, yet frustrating, for faculty and students who commute from surrounding areas and braved the poor road conditions.

Cecile Garmon, a communications professor, thought that closing classes was the right decision.

“I drove from Glasgow this morning, and it was bad,” Garmon said. “It’s only getting worse. We have so many commuting students here and the forecast doesn’t look good.

“I’m going home to get ready for final exams. It gives me time to work at home instead of here.”

While some professors looked forward to catching up on school work, many students took the opportunity to play in the snow.

Near Downing University Center, Glasgow freshman Derek Braur organized a massive snowball fight after finding out that the class he was walking to had been canceled.

“I think we have about 35 people on our side and we’ve just been picking off random people,” Braur said. “Nobody messes with us because we have such a huge group. We just pick out random people and tear them up. This is great. I didn’t know you got out of class for snow in college.”

Jaquell Vantrese, a sophomore from Watertown, Tenn., thought the snow was the result of divine intervention.

“I love snow,” Vantrese said. “God gave us this snow because he knew we needed to study for finals. He gave us a break.”

Others didn’t find the snow quite so fun.

While there was only one wreck reported on campus yesterday, campus police were busy helping stranded motorists who had slid off the road, Capt. Eugene Hoofer said.

Herald reporters Laura Hagan and Clare Lowther contributed to this report. Reach Jay Lively at [email protected]