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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Univ snow procedures un-shoveled

Published: January 21, 2011
Section: News

Snow Day: Facilities services manages the task of clearing all roads and sidewalks around campus during snowstorms. Even in storms when classes are canceled, dining services employees come to work to feed the university’s inhabitants.
PHOTO BY Ingrid Schulte/The Hoot

In anticipation of a snowstorm and inclement weather, university President Fred Lawrence makes the final decision whether to cancel classes and close the university, according to Senior Vice President for Communications Andrew Gully.

Lawrence consults with Gully, Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins and Provost Marty Krauss. If students are on campus, a staff member from Student Affairs also participates in the decision.

Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan also speaks with Collins prior to the decision, Gully said. Facilities Services manages the snow removal on campus.

“It’s always situational—we’re watching all the factors, and then we’re trying to judge how does it impact our situation,” Gully said.

Even when administrators are not on campus during inclement weather, they still have off-campus access during all hours of the day to communication with students through e-mail list serves, phone and message alerts.

If the university is closed or classes are canceled, dining services in Usdan, Sherman, Einstein’s and the C-store will most likely operate on a regular schedule, Collins wrote in an e-mail.

However, if the university closes, some employees still report to work.

“University employees in Facilities, Dining [and] Public Safety are considered essential employees because they all contribute to our ability to deliver services to the campus community,” Collins wrote.

“There is no expectation that individual employees will risk their safety to get to work at their assigned time during bad weather conditions,” Collins wrote. “There is, however, an expectation that essential employees will arrive at work as close to their starting time as possible.”

But, if some dining services employees are unable to make it to work, there are emergency plans that require other staff to assist.

Community advisers and other students who arrived early last week did not have meal plans activated until Friday, according to Collins.

On Jan. 12, the university closed for the day because of a snowstorm and Gully sent out a statement at 10 p.m. the night before advising all essential employees and staff in “laboratories where it is crucial to maintain research activities” to follow departmental procedures for reporting to work.

“If the storm had been Friday, we would have had employees stay over in the Faculty Club lodge or other local hotels to be here to open the dining hall,“ Collins wrote. “This is a standard procedure.”

As of yesterday at 8 p.m., the National Weather Service in Taunton had issued a Winter Storm Warning for Middlesex County and predicted five to eight inches of heavy snow to fall late last night and today.