The February winter storm, known across the U.S. as Winter Storm Uri, covered the D-FW metroplex in more than five inches of snow — the most snow Dallas has seen in almost 10 years.
After, Elizabeth Loboa, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at SMU, sent an email to students, faculty and staff announcing Good Friday and the first reading day would be used to make-up class that was missed due to the snowstorm.
With the first make-up day on Good Friday having already passed, many students reported that their professors canceled classes or were not even aware of SMU’s make-up day plan.
“I had two courses that were set to take place and only one of my professors held class,” said Zac Scornavacco, SMU senior. “The professor that held class emphasized that it was an optional class to attend. He did not want any students feeling like they had to attend even though it conflicted with their religious obligations.”
While some professors chose to take the same route as Scornavacco’s teachers, many were completely unaware of the make-up day. Rocio Vietina, SMU sophomore, reported that none of her classes were held on Good Friday, and one of her professors knew nothing about the make-up day.
“Someone in my class asked our professor on the Thursday before Good Friday if we were going to have make-up class and she literally had no idea what he was talking about,” said Vietina. “We were all relieved that we weren’t having class, but I was a little shocked that she had no idea what he was talking about.”
Some professors were aware of the make-up days, but had no expectations for students to actually come to class. Dr. Josephine Caldwell-Ryan, SMU Women’s Studies Professor held class on Good Friday, but she didn’t expect many students to come.
“I didn’t really think I had a right to ask people to come. I just planned it as something that people could look at later. And a few people did come and we had a good class,” said Dr. Caldwell-Ryan. “But no, my initial thought was people aren’t going to do this because students aren’t going to come and I don’t think too many students went.”
A weekly update sent to faculty and staff on April 1, 2021 from Loboa left some professors feeling like they were not obligated to hold make-up class on Good Friday.
The email read, “In response to this year’s extreme winter weather, I recognize that some community members will be facilitating or supporting instruction tomorrow and want to thank those individuals for their service.”
“She doesn’t actually say ‘no worries about class,’” said Lauren Smart, SMU Journalism Professor. “But she acknowledges that many faculty wouldn’t be holding classes.”
With the first make-up day not being used, many students are wondering if the second make-up day on May 4 will bring the same confusion.
“Both of my professors that were meant to hold classes on Good Friday acknowledged that they were supposed to, but only one of them did, and I did not go,” said Maggie Higgins, SMU junior. “But from what I’ve heard, it sounds like most professors had no clue what was going on and a lot of them didn’t even have class. I know that we have these make up days because we need a certain amount of class hours, but I think most people would agree that they’re pointless.”