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University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

July 31, 2014

University panel will review process for weather-related closure

January 15, 2014

University panel will review process for weather-related closure

Topic: Campus News

A university committee soon will be appointed to evaluate the policy, practice and communication process related to closing the Ann Arbor campus during a weather emergency.

The decision to review weather-related closures follows the Jan. 5-6 storm that dumped a foot of snow on Ann Arbor. Temperatures plunged to 15 degrees below zero. The Ann Arbor campus remained open, and Winter Semester classes began Jan. 8 as planned.

Laurita Thomas, associate vice president for human resources, will chair the committee, which will broadly represent the Ann Arbor campus. The panel will include faculty and staff from Central Campus and the U-M Health System.

Executive Vice Presidents Ora H. Pescovitz, Martha E. Pollack and Timothy P. Slottow say they will ask the committee to recommend clear and flexible guidelines for decision-making that respect the complexity of U-M operations, including the academic, research and patient-care missions of the university.

The executive sponsors say it is important that the university undertake the review of current policies and procedures specific to severe weather to ensure they are in alignment with the university’s principles and values of stewardship and safety.

Speaking to the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs on Monday, Pollack said closing the university is very complex. U-M has not closed for severe weather since the winter of 1978.

“It really is like closing a small city,” she said. “I still think the university can only close in very rare circumstances.”

Comments

Lisa Papp
on 1/15/14 at 9:44 am

Dr. Pollack stated to the media that there "is no policy", then that it (the policy) will be reviewed. Hmmmm...
The "university is a small city"... Let's see, UM Dearborn closed, UM Flint closed, EMU & WCC closed, as well as others in SE MI. Washtenaw COUNTY closed all but essential services, and requested county residents to "stay off the roads" those dates...and UM doesn't even have a plan? The UM Health System does. Maybe campus should talk to the health system?
Could this all have anything to do about a long ago lawsuit brought by a student who was disgruntled at the University for having missed a day of classes that they had "paid tuition for"? Perhaps the UM could hire a professor or two to lecture on designated "inclement weather make-up days" at the end of the official academic year so such students feel they get their moneys-worth...
I'm pleased to see that Dr. Pescovitz will be on this committee - I have trust in her input.

Rick Carter
on 1/15/14 at 11:20 am

That lawsuit is an urban legend. It supposedly happened at Michigan State too, and they debunked it back in the 80s. In related news, no school ever built a library and forgot to account for the weight of the books, causing it to be unusable.

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