Simpson College cancels classes, closes offices due to ice storm


by Alex Kirkpatrick, Digital Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — As an estimated two- to four-tenths of an inch of ice glazed over Iowa roads Monday morning, Simpson College officials made a rare move, canceling classes and closing offices on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

As The Simpsonian reported last year, the college rarely closes its campus – where most students live anyway – unless a catastrophic event, like a tornado or World War III, were to occur.

Heidi Levine, vice president of student development, said the decision is made through a panel of six people: the vice president of student development, director of campus services, director of campus security, vice president of information technology, various communications contacts and the one who makes the final decision, the academic dean.

The panel assesses road conditions throughout the area before making the final call and the decision is made fairly quick – usually less than an hour.

While professors can choose to cancel their classes, the term closing is misleading, Levine said. Campus operations, such as security and facility services continue as normal.

There will be minor variations in food services, though, said Luke Behaunek, dean of students. Pfeiffer is open through 1 p.m. and will reopen for the normal dinner schedule.

Au Bon Pain will be closed through at least midday and possibly the whole day. Tyler’s Grille, Millie’s Coffee Shop and Red Mango are open during their normal hours.

Officials said crews are working to treat the slick sidewalks and surfaces and advice students to use extra caution.

For the latest road conditions, go to