Canada native, A-State chancellor discusses making the call to cancel classes

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas State University was set to begin their spring semester on Tuesday, but students got to enjoy a snow day instead.

The man who made that decision, A-State Chancellor Dr. Kelly Damphousse, is familiar with cold weather but not with snow days.

While Monday night's snowstorm didn't pack a huge punch, many area schools canceled classes on Tuesday because of hazardous driving conditions.

"The weather like today, that we had today, was pretty normal from October through April," Damphousse said.

He means normal for Canada, where the chancellor is originally from.

"I never heard of a snow day until I moved to Texas," Damphousse said.

When temperatures reached -40 degrees in his hometown of Lac La Biche, school buses stopped running, but Dr. Damphousse and his classmates didn't get a break.

"I was a town kid so I had to go into school," he said. "I think the moms would have rioted if the principal would have closed the school down. So I had to go to school. Sometimes I got a ride, sometimes I had to walk."

Dr. Damphousse fielded several social media pleas from students Monday night, praying that A-State would close.

They posted pictures and gifs, which the chancellor playfully responded to, warning students to dress in layers and get ready for class.

The chancellor's social media presence did take some of the attention off of #Regina, a social media trend made famous in honor of the woman who sends those cancellation announcements via email.

"I feel sorry for Regina," Damphousse said. "She's still important. She has an important role to play here."

At the end of the day, the chancellor said student safety is their main concern.

"You know, that's all in good fun, but what's really most important is being sure about people's safety, and I knew the campus was safe today, but I was worried about people being able to get here from out of town or the side streets," he said. "So we wanted to err on the side of caution."

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