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-   -   Univ. of Michigan never closes for weather due to a lawsuit (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=88260)

snopes 07 January 2014 10:40 PM

Univ. of Michigan never closes for weather due to a lawsuit
 
Comment: The University of Michigan will never suspend classes due to
often-repeated story that links a never-closing policy to a rumored
lawsuit by a law school student for tuition money lost when the university
closed due to inclement weather. I've never heard whether or not the suit
was successful or not.

Is it true that a law suit by a student is the cause? If not, what is the
cause of such a ridiculous policy?

snopes 07 January 2014 10:41 PM

Comment: There is a rumor that the University of Michigan will not close
on inclement weather days due to being sued by a student years ago. There
are variations that it was a law student.

Tootsie Plunkette 07 January 2014 11:53 PM

It's been a long time since I was in college, but I don't remember my tuition money guaranteeing me x hours of classes.

And I'd think it would be more likely that they'd be sued for not closing during bad weather, making it dangerous for staff and students who had to travel. But maybe I'm just being too logical.

Beachlife! 08 January 2014 12:22 AM

The reason it didn't close these last two days is because it wasn't open to begin with, classes start tomorrow.

Here is an article which explains their policy:Why doesn't the University have snow days?

Quote:

Because the University is a primarily residential campus, it can often stay open when commuter campuses cannot. Paul Courant, then the University's provost, told the University Record in last year that the University would remain open expect in severe emergencies because it has a responsibility to students for daily services.
The last closure was in 1978 during one of the worst snowstorms in Michigan history.

erwins 08 January 2014 12:25 AM

That was pretty much the policy at my college as well. It didn't mean that individual classes didn't get cancelled, since professors don't generally live on campus. But it meant that I had to schlep to the classrooms to see the sign on the door each time. (The days before email). My thesis defense was cancelled after a terrible ice storm because none of my committee could make it to campus. But the University was "open."

diddy 08 January 2014 12:46 AM

Yea. Lots of universities that have students living on campus really don’t close all that much since they provide services like food and the like. That doesn’t mean that classes can’t get cancelled due to professors not being able to make it or the school administration can’t cancel services and reduce availability for services. Lots of services like the cafeterias can be run by students and one actual non student staff or what not so they don’t have to close.

Reduce hours though? Sure.

NewZer0 08 January 2014 10:33 AM

Yes, I went to college in Nebraska, and I think the school closed just once in my five years there. It was largely residential, and even the commuter students tended to live nearby (within walking distance, though even that's unsafe at certain temps, of course).

Or the compromise might be classes after 6 P.M. were cancelled, since those had a higher number of commuters.

But certainly individual profs might cancel their classes.

I was always annoyed when classes were cancelled because I did feel like, "Hey, I'm paying for this, I want my money's worth!" But life happens and sometimes a prof has to cancel or the school has to close.

--NewZer0

Seaboe Muffinchucker 08 January 2014 02:27 PM

As far as I'm aware, the last time WSU in Pullman closed was May 19-23 1980, and I don't recall if it was closed the entire week. I do remember that they didn't decide to close it on the 19th until after 8:00a classes would have started, so a number of people (including my father, my sister and me) had to get to campus, just in case.

Seaboe

RealityChuck 08 January 2014 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NewZer0 (Post 1793337)
I was always annoyed when classes were cancelled because I did feel like, "Hey, I'm paying for this, I want my money's worth!" But life happens and sometimes a prof has to cancel or the school has to close.

--NewZer0

Actually, you're paying for the credits and ultimately the degree, not how much time you spend in class. Unless the lack of hours affect accreditation, it has no effect on what the college is providing for you.

Beachlife! 08 January 2014 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker (Post 1793350)
As far as I'm aware, the last time WSU in Pullman closed was May 19-23 1980 ..

Closing classes for a volcano is bad ass, nobody can complain about that. ;)

Sooeygun 08 January 2014 05:06 PM

At the two community colleges I went to, I was told they would rarely close because it could affect the unemployment insurance payments to apprentice students. This is purely anecdotal, but heard it in two different provinces. I never had cause to look into it further because at the first college, I wasn't an apprentice student and at the second, I was, but never had weather bad enough to warrant closure.

As an apprentice chef, I had to take 2 months off work to go to school and was paid UI benefits during that time.

UEL 08 January 2014 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette (Post 1793265)
It's been a long time since I was in college, but I don't remember my tuition money guaranteeing me x hours of classes.

When I went to university in the late '80s, it was stated in the student handbook and on the first day of classes during the mandatory introductory briefing by professors, that for each credit hour for the class, 15 hours of instruction will be given. A 3 credit hour course would have 45 hours of instruction (one hour each Monday, Wednesday and Friday for fifteen weeks, for example).

This stuck out with me because we had one professor who, during his mandatory introductory brief, ranted because his class was Monday afternoon for three hours. Yet school started on a Tuesday, Thanksgiving was on a Monday and Remembrance Day was on a Monday, meaning that he had to rearrange his schedule to provide another 9 hours of instruction that was available to most students. His option: for the last 9 weeks of the course, the three hour Monday afternoon class became a 4 hour Monday afternoon class. And given that there were only 12 Mondays in the school schedule, it made those nine Mondays painful.

erwins 08 January 2014 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 1793362)
Actually, you're paying for the credits and ultimately the degree, not how much time you spend in class. Unless the lack of hours affect accreditation, it has no effect on what the college is providing for you.

Some people go to school to learn things, not just for credits or a degree.

My law school actually had an instance of having to basically offer a free class to people who were in a visiting professor's class. She turned out to be pretty unhinged, taught very little, and what she taught wasn't a very relevant version of the subject. The students got credit for her class, and could have graduated with a degree. It's a subject that's on the bar exam though, and could be relevant to people's careers to actually know the subject, so the school scheduled a series of "review classes" for the students who were affected.

Brad from Georgia 05 June 2014 02:09 PM

UGA, mainly residential, never closed because of snow for my first three years there, though we had some heavy snowfalls. I, lunkhead or responsible student that I was, always slogged to class, only to discover that the teachers never showed up. Usually I was the only student there as well.

Then in my senior year the University began closing because of snow--rumor was that a student had been badly injured on the infamous Stegman Steps, which ran steeply up a hillside near the entrance to the football stadium. The student had slipped on ice or snow and had taken a very bad fall, then had sued the school because it should have closed.

Don't know if that's true or not, but these days UGA closes for snowfalls. Even when it's just two inches, as it was last January.

nzeffer 05 June 2014 03:10 PM

The University of Michigan actually had a "snow" day (aka cold day) this January (http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/...n_canceli.html). Additional source: I experienced this personally, classes FINALLY got cancelled :)

lavender blue 05 June 2014 05:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette (Post 1793265)
And I'd think it would be more likely that they'd be sued for not closing during bad weather, making it dangerous for staff and students who had to travel. But maybe I'm just being too logical.

This year, the University was closed for a day where it was forecast to snow but didn't, then was open on a day where it snowed 2-3 inches (a lot for OK). Apparently the President of the University got a lot of flack about this; he mentioned in his commencement speech that on the day where it snowed and the University was open, a student tweeted at him that the student spun into a ditch on the way to school, and could the President come and pull the car out?

Elkhound 05 June 2014 06:47 PM

My late mother taught at the University of Minnesota for almost 40 years, and only remembered a handful of days it closed due to weather. (The matter came up after she retired and she and my father were living in South Carolina, where things close down at the mere hint that there MIGHT be snow.)

ejmeier 19 July 2016 01:26 PM

I went to a community college and a state university in Northwest Ohio. The community college was a commuter school, while the university had a lot of students live on or within walking/ bike riding distance of campus. The community college was more likely to cancel classes because all the students and faculty had to drive or take police transportation to school. There wasn't really any houses or aprtmenta that were in walking distance of the school. While the university many people were to able to just walk. However, there were a few times that the university did close because of bad weather, especially if it came at a time when the roads, sidewalks, and parking lots could be cleared of snow before students and staff started coming. Even if the school itself was open, there may have been individual professors that cancelled their class.


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