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WSU Main Campus Shutdown Impacts Vancouver

This Halloween, WSU Pullman canceled all of their afternoon classes in order to allow students to attend their football game being televised on ESPN that evening. Though a policy enacted in Pullman, the unintended consequence was an impact on students at other WSU campuses across the state.

Many students attending WSU use distance-learning classes that incorporate online lectures and assignments from professors all over the state, including Pullman. Shane Berridge, a WSU Vancouver student who is enrolled a distance learning math class, discovered the Halloween class cancellation included these online classes. Students who were expecting and paying for the online courses were not able to receive them, yet did not get the day off from all of their afternoon classes.

Berridge said that, even though it was nice to have a day where nothing was going on in the online class, and having extra time to work on assignments and projects, it still would have been nice to carry on with the class and get further ahead. Additionally, Berridge mentioned that the class was given a few weeks’ notice, but the University had not actually informed the professor immediately.

Nick Carpenter, a student at the Pullman campus said that the cancellation was “nice, because it’s a day off, but irresponsible.” Berridge and Carpenter both pointed out that most students’ classes both on and off campus were over before 7:30 p.m., which was the game’s kickoff time. Morning classes on Halloween were not required to be canceled, but rather were left to the professor’s decision. Carpenter also said that by halftime, most of the students had left anyway, and the stadium was left mostly empty.  Carpenter thinks “[the] University intended to avoid in class Halloween-based disruptions,” but that they also wanted to make use of the new media centers in the stadium. He said, however, that most of the students just used the Halloween cancellation as recreation time.

The opinion of some students as to the reasoning behind the cancellation of classes is that it was based on the habits of previous years.  On Halloweens past, an unusual number of students have shown up to their classes already partaking in the festivities. When asked, students on both the Vancouver and Pullman campuses said it seemed as if the disruptions these activities have caused in the past have led to the decision to close campus. Canceling classes certainly would cut back on the number of ‘disruptions’ on Halloween, but the out-of-Pullman effect this decision had was apparent for students such as Berridge.

Another item that Berridge brought up was that ratio of Pullman students in distance-learning courses compared to students on the branch campuses. He said that in his class alone he knows that only about five or six students are on the Pullman campus, but at least 12 are not.  Berridge felt this is a matter of the practicality of canceling everyone’s classes in order to affect the time of a single campus.  That said there still is a large majority of offline students who attend the Pullman campus over those who do not.

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