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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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December 11, 2003


Detailed plans for inclement weather
Storm warning

While many people are just getting around to installing winter tires on their cars, university officials charged with deciding whether to close or not during a snow storm have been thinking about winter for some time.

When snow is forecast, university officials on both sides of the island face a delicate decision. Should their respective campuses close? Should classes be cancelled? Naturally, the university wishes to deliver classes to students who have paid for them. However, the safety of all on campus is the paramount concern.

Snow info at a glance

While the decision to cancel classes or close the St. John's campus rests ultimately with President Axel Meisen (or his designate, should he be out of town) advice comes from various other offices on campus, notably Facilities Management, which remains in close contact with Environment Canada as weather systems develop. Similarly, in Corner Brook, Principal Adrian Fowler makes the call in consultation with interim vice-principal Dan Stewart and Dennis Waterman, director of Administration and Finance. Decisions may also be influenced by the actions of outside agencies. For example, if Metrobus or Corner Brook Transit are planning to shut down operations for the day, personnel there give the university ample warning.

Letting people know the university is closing is a considerable challenge. In St. John's, for instance, when closures happen midway through the day, the message has to get around campus to over 17,000 people as quickly as possible. A message is e-mailed to 3,000 employees via MUN Newsline e-mail service and posted to the MUN Today Web site (, and newsgroups sj.general and mun.general (when they are working). The same notice is posted to the snow cancellations Web page, which is accessible through the main Memorial page. Similar actions are taken on the Corner Brook campus; a new snow cancellation feature is being implemented this year, which is accessible by visiting the Grenfell homepage,

Provincial media are also contacted, and are extremely co-operative in airing the news as soon as possible. University Relations also makes phone calls directly to the university operator, student unions, CHMR, the CSU/MUN Childcare Centre, Campus Enforcement and Patrol, the Marine Institute, the Aquarena, and other selected campus offices.

The same procedures are followed for early-morning closures and cancellations.


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Next issue: January 8, 2003

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