I am writing as a student veteran that attends the University of Wyoming, and it has come to my attention during Winter Storm Ulmer that the university's responsibility to its students' safety is somewhat flawed when it comes to weather closing.
All regional school districts, colleges, universities, and businesses took the weather forecast seriously and preemptively decided to close during the blizzard conditions. The university has a weather closing policy that seems to not include the safety and financial burdens of their non-traditional students that must commute to Laramie because they have lives outside of the university that they must attend to, including spouses, children, jobs that are outside of Laramie. They waited until 1 p.m. Wednesday to cancel classes, for the non-traditional students that did risk traveling to Laramie on Wednesday, they would have been stuck paying for two nights at a hotel that they may not be able to afford.
Another flaw is the current authorized absence policy; road closures don't count as authorized absences. Not only does this not provide protections for students that may not have any conceivable way to commute to Laramie, it also encourages students to risk their lives and perhaps break the law to make it to Laramie if they happen to have a quiz or exam that day and the professor is not willing to work with them.
I propose an easy fix to the policy: allow road closures to be an authorized absence but only if the commuter has a Wyoming Authorized Travel and all routes to Laramie from their location are closed. I'm willing to do a lot to get to class, but I'm not willing to break the law or die. Non-traditional students should not be penalized for closures, I'm sure I am not the only non-traditional student or commuter to feel this way. I do understand some of this may be unavoidable but if they are willing to discuss changes to the policies or ways they can improve the policies they can call (number withheld by editor).
Wesley Frain, Cheyenne