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Safety remains a priority in determining campus closures

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Photo courtesy of csupueblo.edu
Photo courtesy of csupueblo.edu

Colorado State University-Pueblo closed its campus Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 for snow days due to contributing factors that include the safety of students, faculty and staff members in mind.

“First and foremost, they (students, faculty and staff), are priority in any decision to close the university,” said Craig Cason, physical plant director at CSU-Pueblo.

Cason said that the determination in closing the university generally occurs after discussions between university members and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office are made.

The discussions are based upon weather conditions that include the amount of snowfall, the impact of the amount of snowfall on the road, the timing of the storm and other factors that could potentially impact the safety of individuals.

Once factors are taken into consideration, Cason said, “the decision for the university to cancel class is made by the president and a team of CSU-Pueblo campus administrators, in cooperation with the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office sub-station on campus.”

From there, the Office of External Affairs will communicate through a number of resources to inform the community of a university closure.

Resources include flash news media that cover Pueblo and Colorado Springs markets, the CSU-Pueblo website, CSU-Pueblo’s text messaging alert system and social media sites of CSU-Pueblo.

On the CSU-Pueblo Facebook page, campus closures were announced for CSU-Pueblo’s Tower and Fort Carson locations before news about the main campus in Pueblo. This led to responses from students and parents in the comment section.

According to Cora Zaletel, executive director of external affairs, each location is handled differently.

“The distances between the different locations is 30+ miles, which can produce drastically different weather conditions. Because the tower location has primarily evening classes, we aim to make a decision about closure for them by 3 p.m.,” Zaletel added.

Decisions are made based on location. Zaletel said it is not unusual for Colorado Springs to get significant snowfall and for Pueblo to receive little to none.

“This is why decisions are made separately,” Zaletel said.

“The university may have to make adjustments to the semester schedule if too many closures occur, but safety will come first,” Cason said.

To stay informed with CSU-Pueblo, individuals can register with the ALERT emergency text messaging system. More information on how to register can be found at http://www.csupueblo.edu/CampusSafety/CSU-PuebloALERT/Pages/default.aspx.