Update on Commencement and Class Schedule Plans

We continue to assess the potential impacts of the winter storm warning that has been issued for most of Wisconsin, starting at noon today and continuing through Saturday. I want to take this opportunity to stress to our campus community that our students, faculty and staff need to make personal safety a top priority when making travel plans over the next 36 hours.

After much discussion, we have decided to make no changes in either the test schedule for the rest of today or for the two commencement ceremonies on Saturday.

We understand that the impending snow storm could very well make travel difficult for members of our campus community and for the family and friends planning to attend a commencement ceremony. However, we will do everything possible to ensure that our facilities are as accessible as possible tonight and through the day Saturday. We also believe that commencement is such a significant event in the lives of our graduates and their families and friends that we have responsibility to hold the ceremonies if at all possible.

If people decide it simply is not safe for them to travel to a commencement ceremony, they will have the opportunity to view both events on our live streaming website. Any other updates on commencement will be posted on the UW-Stout Commencement website. Updates also will posted on our Facebook and Twitter platforms.

To assist Physical Plant personnel in clearing the parking lots of snow for Saturday’s visitors, we ask that all vehicles be removed from lots 14, 18 and 29 following all scheduled Friday evening activities. These lots are scheduled to reopen at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Additional personnel have been called in to aid in snow removal for Saturday.

Doors into Johnson Fieldhouse on Saturday will be open 45 minutes before each ceremony.

Students who have tests scheduled for Friday afternoon and evening also should use their best judgment in deciding whether to travel to campus. Instructors have been encouraged to be flexible in accommodating students unable to take an exam because of travel difficulties.

For our employees, the Human Resources Office sent out an advisory in November concerning personnel policies and procedures to be followed during inclement weather.

Employees should assume that the campus always will be open, unless notified otherwise. Individuals should use their best judgment about the safety of traveling to and from campus, and should contact their supervisor if they cannot report to work.

Employees who cannot report to work because of inclement weather may use paid leave (other than sick leave), or the employee may elect to use leave without pay. While the normal expectation is that employees have vacation time approved in advance, during extreme weather supervisors will be able to make exceptions and approve vacation on short notice.

I want everyone to understand that much discussion went into this decision to hold exams and commencement ceremonies as scheduled. We truly appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through these difficult issues.

And, above all, please use extreme caution when traveling to and from campus over the next 36 hours.