The college’s snow emergency closing procedure explained
Jacqui White, Staff Writer
With Utica getting about 93 inches of snow per year, students would expect to get a snow day at least once in awhile. However, Utica College rarely cancels all-day classes. Last year, there was a cancellation of classes after 4 p.m., but there hasn’t been a snow day in the past two years.
Kim Lambert, Vice President for Institutional Planning and Senior Executive Assistant to President Laura Casamento, explained what happens when Utica starts to experience the snowy weather that can start as early as October.
Lambert explained that as soon as winter weather starts moving toward Utica, President Casamento sends a memo to faculty and students to explain that even though UC rarely closes due to snow, any delays or cancellations will be announced on local radio and television stations.
“Snow days are a familiar term for students who may be looking for the same types of decisions that they experienced in elementary, middle school and high school, but it’s not the same as college,” Lambert said.
Lambert mentioned how college students’ experiences differ from those attending high school. The bussing for high school students is usually longer and school administrators go through a difference decision-making process than college officials.
Since some of students don’t live on campus at UC, the college sends out emails to them and staff to decide on whether or not the weather conditions would prevent them from driving to campus.
Lambert said that when the snow does cover the sidewalks, the facilities management staff has a schedule for clearing snow. This schedule pays particular attention to main entrances, the main road, sidewalks leading from residence halls to Strebel and the academic buildings.
If there is overnight snow, Wayne Sullivan, Director of Campus Safety, will contact the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Facilities Management, Lambert explained. For a recent storm, Lambert and Sullivan spoke at 5 a.m. and then consulted with John Johnsen, the provost. Sullivan also called the Utica Police Department and went around to drive local roads in Utica
“We try to make our decisions between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. so that faculty and students have time to make whatever arrangements need to be made. We then send out any alerts through the college’s alert system,” Lambert said.
Lambert explained that when discussing whether to cancel or delay classes, they take consideration on road conditions. For the most recent storm, Lambert and Sullivan had plenty of advanced notice so road crew worked through the night to clear roads.
“The reason we decided on a two hour delay was so that the road crews would have more time to clear off snow. Other school districts had two hour delays, so this was also to help faculty, staff and students who had to get any children on the school busses,” Lambert added.
UC sophomore Ulysses Sepulveda doesn’t really mind that the school rarely has snow days.
“I think they do a pretty good job with plowing and salting,” Sepulveda said. “It sucks the night before looking outside, but in the morning the snow is pretty much gone.”