Pitt petition to cancel classes nets nearly 10,000 signatures |

Pitt petition to cancel classes nets nearly 10,000 signatures

Deb Erdley
Emily Balser | Tribune-Review

Pity poor David Ankin.

At least he had an excuse for trying to avoid the icy winds cutting through the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus.

“I lost my hat yesterday and was too busy to buy a new one,” Ankin, a computer science major at Pitt, wrote on an online petition urging Pitt officials to cancel classes as the temperature in Oakland plummeted to 5 degrees.

The petition on picked up steam Tuesday night as the mercury dropped.

Taylor Tomlinson, a Pitt freshman who launched the petition from an Oakland dorm room, had no idea it would net nearly 10,000 signatures.

“ I doubted it would get any more than 150 signature,” Tomlinson said.

Pitt officials said it had nothing to do with the cancellation of classes.

Deteriorating weather —not Ankin’s hat or the “it’s cold” comments that accompanied many signatures—was the determining factor in Chancellor Patrick Gallagher’s decision to cancel classes early Wednesday morning, Pitt spokesman Joe Miksch said.

Pitt last shuttered classrooms in Feb. 2010 when a deep freeze set in after 20 inches of snow fell on the city in a single night.

Things were cozy at Pitt Wednesday compared to campuses in the Midwest where the Polar Vortex hit hardest.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the University of Michigan cancelled classes for only the third time in 40 years on Wednesday after 12,000 people signed an online petition calling for a shutdown in advance of the temperatures dropping to minus 11 degrees.

Ann Arbor looked like Florida compared to Muncie, Ind. Where Ball State University cancelled classes as the mercury plummeted to 41 degrees below zero.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.