Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Campus Caucus: How cold is too cold?

When does the University community think classes should be canceled due to cold?
Image by Spencer White

With a face for radio and a voice for writing, this is the closest I will ever get to becoming a weatherman. 

The winter weather has been variable to say the least, going from arctic to springlike faster than you can say “climate-related existential dread.” What a mouthful.

With the pleasant weather currently accompanying us, it is hard to imagine that just a couple of weeks ago everyone on campus was bundled up as if on an expedition to the Arctic Circle. Now, the long underwear finds rest once more in the bottom of my sock drawer.

Now that the days of frozen faces and frost-bitten fingers are behind us, what temperature do students think should merit class cancellation?

In a poll (the brain-child of sports editor Theo Franz) conducted by the opinions desk, 92 members of the University of Minnesota community weighed in, with a majority only calling for cancellation in rare circumstances.

Side-bar: we realize 92 respondents do not indicate statistical significance. However, if you are worked up about that, why not contribute to the next poll?

Twenty-eight respondents voted that classes should only be canceled at 10 below zero, and four more voted that classes should never be canceled. Past that, 22 more respondents chose “Other,” many of whom said classes should only be canceled at temperatures reaching 15 below zero or if there are other safety concerns, such as excessive ice.

Terri Mattila, lab coordinator in the College of Biological Studies, chose “Other.” Mattila wrote that given students at the University are adults, it should be up to their discretion whether or not they attend class, and the instructors — also adults — should have the same ability to decide whether or not their classes will persist through the cold.

Only 11 respondents voted in favor of class cancellation at temperatures above zero. Several respondents cited concern for windchill and real feel, particularly for students who walk to class or rely on public transportation.

Sofi Denevan, a first-year, wrote there is a large concern of frost-bite or hypothermia for students waiting at the bus stop. 

Combine that with subpar road conditions leading to delayed arrivals and it is not hard to imagine the discomfort inherent.

Maggie Ireland, a first-year student, wrote that out-of-state and international students should get used to it.

“We hope you brought warm gloves,” Ireland wrote.

An astounding lack of sympathy, but relevant. This is Minnesota, the cold is something we have to deal with. If classes were canceled every time the temperature reached single digits, we would start missing entire weeks of class.

Nate Krause, a second-year, wrote he was disappointed by the polling options only going as low as 10 below zero. 

“[20 below] at highest, and whoever suggests 10 or lower is delusional,” Krause wrote.

Admittedly, I failed to account for the winter-related masochism of Minnesotans when constructing this poll. That one is on me.

Four respondents who chose “Other” said cancellation should only occur at temperatures of 35 below or lower. That sentiment is echoed in the University policy, which states reduced operations would be considered if the air temperature or sustained wind chill reached 35 below for more than three consecutive hours.

According to the policy, temperatures must only dip to 25 below zero with abundant snowfall for the consideration of reduced operations.

As someone born and raised in Minnesota, that is too damn cold. However, the frailty of my blood in the cold is not what is up for discussion here, the will of the people is. 

University policy is not changing anytime soon and, by the looks of it, many of you do not want it to. Luckily for us, the Minnesota forecast is in the manic cycle of warming temperatures.

And if you’re still worried about the depressive end rearing its freezing head, don’t. Punxsutawney Phil has all but guaranteed our warmth continues into the rest of 2024.

If there is one thing I trust more than anything, it is the will of the groundhog.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *