Student Government discusses campus closure, lengthening Thanksgiving break


Student Government Chief Justice Philip Wiseman discusses amendments to the election code during the SG meeting Tuesday evening. Amendments to the election code will enforce full disclosure of members’ names to prevent campaign impersonation. 

Photo Credit: Letitia Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Following student complaints regarding the University’s late campus closure for the two recent snow days, members of Student Government presented legislation requesting improvements to the University’s emergency preparedness policy at their meeting Tuesday.

According to the authors of the new resolution, this legislation will begin a conversation among faculty and University leaders to improve timeliness in all safety notifications, not just those concerned with inclement weather.

Public health senior Juhno Ahn, an SG representative who co-authored the resolution, said the University did not follow its own severe weather guidelines as they were written.

“[The University] did not follow protocol,” Ahn said. “Closure must be announced by 5:00 a.m., but they announced it at 8:19 a.m. … [The guidelines] also said for closure after 2:00 p.m. the school must be closed by 11:00 a.m., but they closed by 11:20 a.m.”

The resolution raised questions among other members of SG, who did not find the legislation necessary. SG representative Liam Wooley-McMath, a supply chain management junior, said he wondered whether the issue could be mitigated without legislation by speaking to faculty instead.

“To me, this seems like a middle finger to the people who are [regulating campus closures], because they are doing all that they can,” McMath said. “There are major financial losses of the University being closed for a day.”

SG representative Blake Lueder, a business freshman, said following the University’s guidelines for the recent snow days could have actually caused more problems, because the weather changed after the time protocol dictated the decision should be due.

“If they had declared it open at 5:00 a.m., I feel that that would have caused more safety concerns,” Lueder said.

Other members of SG spoke up to confirm the necessity of the campus closure Jan. 28 because of the dangerous conditions. Joshua Tang, SG Administrative Director and history senior, said he hurt himself while navigating the icy paths on campus.

“I decided to be a good student and take the day to study on campus,” Tang said. “I wound up on the ground. It was me versus the ice and gravity, and I lost.”

SG members at the meeting also addressed the recently passed legislation to request the addition of an extra day to Thanksgiving break by starting the fall 2014 semester a day earlier.

Several members said they questioned the need for the extra day.

Kori Rady, SG External Financial Director and a government and communication studies and corporate communications senior, said that the faculty was on board with the new legislation.

“I’ve been working with faculty council for a long time,” Rady said. “I know what they’re thinking and what they want, and they would be in favor of this.”