Oct 262011
 
Authors: Andrew Carrera

University officials decided to cancel all Wednesday CSU classes and activities after 5 p.m. because of inclement weather.

Classes held in buildings around the university Oval –– including Ammons Hall, Guggenheim Hall, Laurel Hall, the Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT), Wagar, Forestry, Occupational Therapy, Gibbons, Johnson Hall, Centennial Hall, Student Services, Administration Building and Danforth Chapel –– are also canceled for Thursday.

Employees in those facilities, however, are asked to report to work as normal.

Campus authorities will determine at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday morning whether the rest of campus should be closed for the day

The Oval will remain closed to pedestrian and vehicle access until tree damage assessments are completed, which is expected to last until the end of the week.

Fort Collins received five inches of snow on Oct. 26 and is expected to receive more Thursday.

In addition to icing the walkways students, the snow accumulated on many of the trees around the CSU campus and caused their branches to weaken dramatically.

CSU’s public safety team –– consisting of university President Tony Frank, Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda, other vice presidents and press relation officials –– made the decision to shut down the campus in a meeting today that took place around 2 p.m.

The move was motivated in part by the fact that a female CSU junior was hospitalized Wednesday morning after being struck in the head by falling tree branches at 11 a.m. north of Braiden Hall.

“It’s a very vivid reminder of what we want to avoid in this type of situation,” Frank said.

The university’s public relations office and the Poudre Fire Authority, which responded to the 911 calls about her, could not release information about the condition of the student.

“A good majority of the tree branches snapped and they fell down and hit her,” said Jessica Thurston, a freshman business major who was 30 feet away from the incident when it happened. “She was buried and about 20 people were running over there shoving the branches off of her.”

Freshman animal science major Haley Davis was walking with Thurston when it happened.

“We heard some of the branches start to crack, and then they just went down. It was like a sonic boom, almost,” she said, adding that a nearby car alarm was set off despite being untouched.

On Tuesday, students wondered whether CSU would be shut down Wednesday when they heard forecasts for heavy snow.

In response, Frank emailed students saying classes would probably not be canceled because of the inclement weather –– despite the possible dangers individuals might face while braving the conditions.

“I anticipate the inevitable calls and emails wondering why we’re not closing campus and why we don’t care about your safety,” it read. “ If the city and county are asking people to stay off the roads, we generally shut down. If the city and county aren’t asking people to stay at home, I usually talk with our folks at CSUPD and (the University Facilities Department) and I typically drive outside city limits before making the decision to close or not.”

With the injured CSU student in mind, Frank reflected on his Tuesday email.

“The message that I sent out yesterday rings a little hollow,” he said.

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 7:39 am