Winter Weather

Season of icy roads and skipping class

Winter came a little early this year, dumping nearly a foot of snow prior to Thanksgiving break.
Winter came a little early this year, dumping nearly a foot of snow prior to Thanksgiving break. Dan Hamilton | Demo 64
Whether you’re a fan of the snow or not, winter has seemed to come early this year.

For many campus commuters, this means terrible driving conditions in thick snow and ice.

“When the roads are bad, plan ahead and take your time,” said Capitan Jim Cook, Assistant Director of Ferris Department of Public Safety. “Drive slower. Park your car and plan on leaving it there until your classes are done for the day – not drive back and forth to your residence between classes. Take the time to brush the snow and ice from your windows before driving. Let your car warm up enough to clear the frost from the windshield and side windows and always look out for the other guy who may lose control of their vehicle so that you can avoid being in a crash yourself.”

Cook also said that when walking as a pedestrian, make sure to pay attention to your surroundings and keep a look out for vehicles passing near you that may slide and lose control, so you can avoid being hit.

Another issue students face during the winter season is skipping class, whether it’s because driving conditions are too bad, or because it’s -10 degrees out and you’d rather stay in bed.

“If Ferris is open, I will have class, because I just happen to live very close,” said Dr. Melissa Smith, professor of literature. “I tell my students, if you live off campus and you feel like you can’t make it in to class, use your best judgment and email me. I’m trusting you to be honest about it, but I think the majority of students are going to be honest about whether they really can or can’t come to campus.”

“Don’t wait for bad weather to talk to your teachers about what their policies are,” said Smith, on winter weather advice for students. “Give yourself a lot of time. If you live far away, don’t take 8 a.m. classes, because the roads aren’t going to be plowed at seven in the morning. So if you know you’re going to be commuting, take the ten or eleven classes. Make the best decision for yourself. Even if you are marked absent or you miss a couple points, that’s still better than getting hurt.”

According to, the average student will skip 104 classes in their entire time at college. That’s “$2,400.32 in skipped hour-long classes for public institutions.”

“Missing one class, or two classes over the course of the semester- I think you can work around that. But because I teach literature and writing, so much of what we learn in those classes is based on discussion. So when you miss class, you’re not just missing out on the discussion, but even more importantly, your classmates are missing out on what you contribute,” said Smith. “Don’t miss class for silly reasons, so that if you do miss class for bad weather, it’s only one or two times.”