The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Notification process could improve

The Dallas-Forth Worth area received a record-setting amount of snow last week—and the aftermath isn’t pretty.

Tree branches have fallen around campus. Snow has become sullied with dirt. There’s not enough snow to build a proper snowman anymore.

It’s in this aftermath that EdBoard examines the events of last week:

Wednesday night we went to sleep with hopes that the snow would soon arrive. Imagine our excitement when we awoke early in the morning and saw white flakes falling from the sky.

Did SMU close? No. The university decided to remain open and monitor the weather. The university, in fact, stayed open long past other area schools and decided to close early at 3 p.m.

SMU posted an announcement on its homepage around 1:30 p.m., but it did not send out an e-mail alert or tweet until about half an hour later. Many students found out about the school closing through their professors instead of the actual school.

Friday classes were suspended until noon as of Thursday night and Friday morning. The university decided to cancel all classes around 10:30 a.m. This time an e-mail was sent out at about the time information was posted on the SMU homepage.

SMU could have done a better job during last week’s snowstorm.

Thursday’s lag time between posting a notice on the homepage and sending out an e-mail was far too long. Not all students check the homepage, but most do check their e-mail before they leave for class. If a student has a long commute, the 30-minute lag could have led to unnecessary time spent on the road with heavy snowfall.

Friday’s notification that all classes were cancelled could have been sent out sooner—12.5 inches of snow had been dumped on the Dallas-Forth Worth area between Wednesday morning and Thursday night. Snow doesn’t just go away; it takes time to melt, and that morning it was clear that the snow wasn’t going to be gone by noon. Other area schools and universities had already deemed Friday a snow day when SMU still planned to open at noon.

Although not in the inclement weather policy this year, SMU could have also used its text message notification system to alert students of the school closures. More prevalent in students’ lives than e-mail, a mass text message would have let students know in a timely, organized manner that the university was going to close because of the snow. This would not have been hard to do, as the university could have just sent a simple message saying

“SMU is closing at 3 p.m. today due to inclement weather.”

We hope that in the future SMU will improve its communication with students regarding school closings. While the university did manage to get its message out, the system can be improved.

In the meantime, please watch out for tree limbs and areas where SMU is working to clean up the aftermath of last week’s snowstorm.



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