Natalie Slayter, a third-year student, thinks Dal should be lenient with students who drive to school. (Photo: Marie David)

Natalie Slayter, a third-year student, thinks Dal should be lenient with students who drive to school. (Photo: Marie David)

Student pushes storm day exceptions for drivers

A Dalhousie student urges the school to accommodate students who drive and can't get to class because of dangerous roads.

Students who drive to school should be exempt from class the day after a major snowstorm, argues one student.

Natalie Slayer is a third-year sociology student at Dalhousie University who works in Dartmouth, and splits her nights between Halifax and Sackville. She said trying to get into the city can be hectic and taking the highway in or after a snowstorm is especially dangerous.

“It’s one thing if you live on campus but when you live far away there’s a lot of risks. (Tuesday) for instance, everything was open but it took me an hour and a half to get in from Sackville.”

Slayter said part of a student’s participation mark in some classes is showing up, and having a system to avoid losing those points would be beneficial.

Enlarge Map
This is a map of Slayer's route to school on nights she stays in Sackville.

“An excused absence would be good… a point here and there can definitely affect your overall mark,” she said.

Storm policy

Currently, Dalhousie’s storm policy only covers how students are notified, how the decision is made to close and how teacher salaries are affected. Slayter would like to see a section added that lays out protocol for students, specifically those who come from out of the city.

Charles Crosby, spokesperson for Dalhousie, said the school is not currently looking into changing the policy but suggestions are always welcome.

Most midterms and papers for classes are determined before the term starts. The academic exception Slayter is talking about would only apply if a midterm or paper deadline fell on the same day as a storm, or the day after and the road conditions were still grim.

Crosby said there is no policy to handle that type of student request but most professors have the autonomy to make that decision on their own.

“It's our preference to make university-wide decisions for simplicity's sake and fairness to everyone. But in individual cases, professors do make their own judgment calls.”

Richard Wood teaches math and statistics at Dalhousie and says that while he has never come across such a situation, he’s not opposed to it.

“I think one has to be reasonable about these things and consider them on a case by case basis,” Wood said.

Slayter got her car in September of last year and said this is the first time she has experienced this trouble. She said she will most likely speak with her professors if another storm comes.

“It’s midterm season now so it’s not just about the participation marks anymore. Luckily I only have papers but when teachers want hard copies that is still a problem,” she said.

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