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Memorial prepares for snow

When winter weather hits, Memorial is ready with a detailed plan for informing people about emergency closures.

Safety drives the decision on closures. When bad weather arrives, the decision to cancel classes or close the St. John’s campus rests ultimately with the university president (or his/her designate, should he/she be out of town). The president receives advice from a number of university units, particularly Facilities Management, which remains in close contact with Environment Canada, the provincial Department of Works, Services and Transportation, and the RNC and RCMP as weather systems develop.

Similarly, in Corner Brook, the vice-president (Grenfell Campus) makes the call in consultation with the vice-principal and the director of Administration and Finance.

Since Memorial is a residential institution, it is a priority to maintain key operations and schedules, even when tasked with emergencies such as poor weather. The university doesn’t close except under unusual circumstances. In the event of severe weather or other emergencies, if Memorial has to cancel classes or to close, information will be made available as quickly as possible through a variety of communications vehicles.

And with a population of more than 17,000 students, faculty and staff, news has to get out fast.

In St. John’s, when closures happen midway through the day, a message is sent around campus as quickly as possible. It is phoned or faxed to student unions, faculties, schools, departments and divisions, e-mailed to about 4,000 employees via the Newsline e-mail service, and posted to the website, as well as the main university website, The same notice is posted to the cancellations site, which is accessible through the main Memorial page, and posted through Twitter, which you can follow at memorialu.

Similar actions are taken on the Grenfell Campus via e-mail, and information appears on In addition, Grenfell changes its main phone line message to apprise students, faculty and staff of information as it becomes available.

Information is also relayed to provincial media who are extremely co-operative in airing the news as soon as possible.

Early closings during daytime will be announced at least one hour in advance. Advisories for late openings and all-day closures will be issued by 7 a.m. In addition to contacting the media and posting information to the university website, the Division of Marketing and Communications and, at Grenfell Campus, the Communications Office, also make early morning phone calls directly to the heads of key university units such as the Childcare Centre, the Marine Institute and The Works in St. John’s and the Pepsi Centre and Ferriss Hodgett Library in Corner Brook.

For more information on the university’s emergency closing procedures, including what radio stations to listen to, visit
For a list of alternate parking spaces and more information, see