Derek Harrison/The Daily Evergreen All classes are canceled Thursday due to a National Weather Service storm warning predicting heavy snow and wind during the next 24 hours, according to a statement released on WSU Alert. However, Wednesday classes remained on schedule.
According to the alert, visibility could be severely reduced as a result of the combination of 35 mph gusts and heavy snowfall.
“Based on the weather forecast from the National Weather Service, we expect another 10 inches of snow this evening- and that on top of the eight inches or so already in place,"President Elson S. Floyd said."My highest priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff. It makes good sense to cancel class given the weather forecast going forward.”
Additional concerns in making the decision to cancel classes included the ability to clear parking lots and sidewalks, Floyd said.
Crews will work all day tomorrow to clear parking lots and roads, said Darin Watkins, executive director of WSU external communications.
"If it looks like the campus is safe enough for students, staff and faculty, then we'll have operations continue on Friday," he said.
The decision will be made early Friday morning.
Another concern that contributed to the decision was the availability of Pullman Transit, because so many students, staff and faculty members use the buses, Floyd said.
Pullman Transit will stop operations after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Pullman Transit's website. On Thursday, the buses will be operating on a limited schedule.
WSU Health and Wellness Services and the Compton Union Building will be open Thursday, according to the alert.
The Student Recreation Center will be open, but libraries will be closed, Watkins said. The men's basketball game against the Stanford Cardinal is still scheduled for Thursday in Beasley.
News of class cancellation was announced at 1:42 p.m. by ASWSU President Riley Myklebust on the student government's Facebook page. The official WSU Alert announcement did not come out until about an hour later.
"Riley was unfortunately unauthorized to make that announcement," Watkins said. "It's unfortunate because it caused a lot of problems for a number of offices with people who were flooded with phone calls for information, wanting to know if things had in fact been canceled. While we can appreciate trying to get information out in a timely fashion, there's a time and a place and a proper channel for information of an emergency notice to go out."
Myklebust said he was given permission to release the information by the President's Office.
"Having students see the information on the ASWSU Facebook page first was a good marketing tool," he said. "Unfortunately, that alert wasn't quite as close to our release as we would have liked it to be. Our phone rang many, many times and students didn't believe us at first. We were all waiting for that alert system to come out as soon as possible."
Connected with the release of the information was a contest, he said. Those who shared the post on Facebook would be put in a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate for The Bookie. The winner of the contest will be announced Friday.