Xavier remains open despite cold weather, safety a concern

By: Sabrina Brown~Editor-in-Chief~

With the extreme cold of the past few weeks, Xavier students have huddled around their phones and computers, anxiously hoping for a text or call from XU Alert Me to inform them of the fate of their classes, on-campus jobs and other Xavier-related activities. Much to their dismay, their daily routine has frequently remained uninterrupted.

The fates of these daily routines lie primarily in the hands of Provost Dr. Scott Chadwick, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Beth Amyot, the Xavier University Police Department (XUPD) and the facilities team — those in charge of clearing the sidewalks, parking lots and streets on campus. “The facilities team is amazing.

They [and XUPD] are out there at 4 a.m. in the cold making it safe for the rest of us. It’s great work that they do,” Chadwick said. The process begins with an assessment of the campus by XUPD and the facilities team.

“Typically when weather looks like it’s moving in, the police are already here, and the facilities people will come in around three or four in the morning or earlier to start working on things, and they make an assessment of if we can get the parking lots, sidewalks and streets cleared and safe by whenever the start of the day is,” Chadwick said.

From there, an email is sent to Amyot and Chadwick with said assessment. If they feel campus is safe for students, faculty and staff, the day continues on as usual. If uncertainty arises, a conference call between XUPD, facilities, Amyot and Chadwick is scheduled for around 5:30 a.m. “We consider nearby conditions and the weather forecast, including wind chill. If classes will be affected, the class schedule is examined. Overall, our decisions are guided by safety for students, faculty and staff.,” Amyot said.

“We do look at things like county weather alerts and emergencies if they have been issued. If they have not, we also take that into account. Beth and I jointly have the responsibility to make the decision,” Chadwick said. In the recent weeks, the extreme cold and accompanying wind-chill has been of the most concern. “Anytime the wind-chill is getting down to around 20 below, that’s of great concern to me.

Part of it also is whether or not it’s sustained… We look at when we have activities and classes into the evening and morning and make decisions based on how cold it looks like it’s going to get.” Chadwick said. With other local schools and universities closings, students have questioned Xavier’s commitment to its students’ safety. “Every school district and every university has their own criteria and their own process, and that’s because they have their own set of constituents.

So they’re trying to take care of their constituents. With K-12 schools, they’re more concerned with the cold and safety of young children walking and standing,” Chadwick said. “At the university level, there are other issues such as if you’re receiving federal money for grants, issues with closing or staying open and other events on campus… We try to make the decision for the best interest of our community and our students.”