Surprise break causes surprise challenges

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    The first week of February offered a bonus break to students when the university was forced to close for four weekdays due to snow and ice.

    Although students enjoyed the time off from class, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills said the storm created many difficulties for administration.

    “We’ve been describing it as the perfect storm,” Mills said. “If it could go wrong, it went wrong.”

    One issue that came up was the breaking of a pipe in the computer center on campus. University e-mail was shut down for a couple of days.

    “It was a test of patience,” Mills said.

    Aubrey Fearer, a freshman fashion merchandising major, said she enjoyed being able to sleep in and not having to worry about additional homework.

    However, not having access to university e-mail prevented her from receiving news about class and campus activities.

    “I haven’t been able to get any of the assignments from my teachers to let us know what has been changed and have had no contact with any of the organizations on campus,” she said.

    Fortunately, campus e-mail was not the only way students were informed of school closings. Fearer said she received a text message with the news from the university that there would be no class the next day.

    “It was awesome because a couple of the days it was the night before, so we knew that we had the next day off and we could just have fun all night long,” she said.

    Mills said the alerts were sent out relatively early the night before to give as much time as possible to people who had to plan for the next day. However, he knows the students used that to their benefit.

    “Students do take advantage of knowing there wasn’t going to be class the next day,” Mills said. “Just to have a couple of party days.”