Snow ordinance policy


Courtesy of Simpson College

“I was not fully prepared for Iowa weather when I first moved onto campus and didn’t know how to layer properly,” said Nina Ortiz, a senior from Texas.

by Ariel Clark, Staff Reporter

As the probability of snowstorms increases Simpson Security, Residence Life and Campus Services have been working together to form a snow ordinance policy to effectively clear snow from Simpson parking lots. They plan on improving communication with students about when and where a scheduled clearing of a lot will take place, giving students time to move their vehicles to one of the sites provided. Relocation emails and text messages will be sent after enough snow has accumulated on the ground. Students who don’t move their vehicles will have their car towed to one of the provided lots and fined by the amount the tow company charges.

Brian Schultes, Director of Faculty Management, worked with his staff to write up a proposal to introduce plans for a snow ordinance policy. The policy was sent through security and residence life before reaching Simpson’s president. “We have been given the okay to have them [cars] towed over the alternative parking space,” said Schultes. 

Some alternative parking spaces can be near the municipal swimming pool, Detroit apartments and the baseball field. 

Due to staff shortages and a national vehicle shortage, most snow removal has been outsourced. Still, Simpson staff works on ensuring students with disabilities get assistance first in the event of a snowstorm and also works to provide a safe area by salting and cleaning up sidewalks when possible. The new policy of removing vehicles allows the staff to prevent an accumulation of snow and ice that would otherwise force three spaces out of commission if someone didn’t move their vehicle. Using prior experience, Schultes believes that having a student’s car towed to a new lot is “really successful as a deterrent to students blowing off emails.”

Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Matt Hansen has also provided feedback and help with the push of a new snow ordinance. While their grounds team can do sidewalks and plow major campus routes, they hope that this year they’ll be able to clear out parking lots during times of large snowfall more effectively. 

Hansen believes that they will likely have to alter small things in regards to the policy, since there hasn’t been a snowstorm yet this school year. Hansen wants students who know people who require priority during times of crisis to send him their class schedule in order to give them priority. “You don’t get that at a big school,” Hansen said. 

When a snowstorm hits, students will receive a message in their college inbox as well as a safe alert system text. Following this, students living in specific residences will be given notice of when their residence’s lot will be cleared so that they have ample time to move their vehicle to one of the provided lots. Security will take note of permit numbers and plates so that student development can call impacted students until 10 a.m. If a student doesn’t remove their car before this time, it will be towed to one of the designated lots (not to be mistaken for impounded). The cost of towing will then be sent to the student’s account. “We do not want to have a tow truck moving vehicles,” said Hansen. He hopes that the alert system and new ordinance will keep students from wasting time, resources, and their own money.