Winter is coming

Students and staff share thoughts on upcoming cold weather

Caleb Cissna, Staff Writer

Falling snow covers campus in February of 2021. Despite the weather conditions, classes still remain in session over Zoom whereas in previous years classes would have been cancelled. (Caitlyn Schnider)

As fall comes to an end, colder and more dangerous weather looms, and those at Seattle Pacific University are bundling up for the cold. After a year and a half of online classes, students, staff and faculty will all be affected by changes to SPU’s inclement weather policies.


Chilly and wet weather affects those commuting to campus the most. Students living off campus, staff and faculty have commutes ranging from a few minutes by foot, to an hour or more by car or bus. From slippery walking paths and roads to alternate bus routes, commuting time and safety are greatly impacted by rain, snow and cold weather.. 


However, some students and staff are not concerned with commuting to campus through chilly weather conditions, like first-year nursing major Jordan Lacey.


“[I have] about an hour drive,” Lacey said. “I have a really good car with four-wheel-drive, so I think it would be okay for me personally.”


However, both students and faculty were concerned for overall road safety on the drive to campus.

Assistant professor of sociology Joshua Tom expressed his concerns about the safety of campus and the surrounding areas.


“Campus is in a more precarious location and presents more difficulties. It’s not the commuting to campus but the arriving on campus that worries me most.” Tom said.


SPU’s campus is located in the Seattle neighborhood of Queen Anne, which is often considered one of the more hilly communities of the local area. The campus itself also has multiple hills which are steep and difficult to travel, such as Bertona Street on the North side of campus, sixth Avenue West, the hill to the Ashton and Hill dormitories and third Avenue West, one of the main routes for those commuting to campus.


Now that classes are no longer online, professors and students have differing opinions on what the cancellation of classes should look like.


“I think maybe not cancel them, but just host a Zoom meeting since we’re all capable [of doing] that,” Lacey said. “I’d understand if teachers didn’t want to host a Zoom call and just have extra work and then I’d understand that, but I think a Zoom call would be most effective.”


Some staff members also think differently about what to do when in-person classes are cancelled.


“Professors at SPU vary on how they think about these kind of circumstances. In inclement weather, I tend towards treating it as a day where I can’t assume students have stable access to internet for a Zoom class, so typically I would just cancel the day,” Tom said.


Current SPU inclement weather policies state that when in-person classes are cancelled, each faculty member decides whether to still hold their courses online or not meet for the day. 


SPU takes a multitude of factors into consideration when considering the cancellation of classes. Full day or late start cancellations will be announced no later than 5:30 a.m., and early dismissal cancellations will be announced no later than two hours before dismissal time.


On campus services are subject to closure or limited hours, depending on the situation. All inclement weather cancelation information will be communicated through the SPU Emergency Alert System, as well as SPU homepage and Emergency Hotline.


As the year continues, the Emergency Planning Team will continue to monitor and review these policies, and will propose changes as needed. 


For more information on university inclement weather policies and procedures, please visit For more information about the SPU Emergency Alert System, please visit SPU-Alert Emergency Notification System – SPU Emergency Preparedness.