Western Herald – What does it take for WMU to close? A break down of the process

What does it take for WMU to close? A break down of the process

Brysa Peters
News Reporter

Western Michigan University students reacted strongly to the school’s decision not to close Tuesday, Jan. 28, and since then one question has echoed social media posts: what determines a snow day?

(Brendan Egan/Western Herald)

Tim Holysz, director of the WMU Landscape Services Facilities Management Department, said the decision essentially comes down to the volume of snow, and if staff can clear roads, sidewalks and parking lots by the time classes start at 8 a.m.

“Monday, we experienced up to 7-1/2 inches of new snow with white out conditions, very heavy drifting up to [2-4]  foot drifts through out the parking lots, walks and roads that lasted through the morning hours,” said Holysz. “The simple fact is that campus lots became impossible to navigate through or even park in, and the sidewalks were blowing shut as fast as we could plow them.”

After Holysz recognized that campus, in the weather conditions Monday, would not be a suitable place for students to be, he followed the next step of the WMU protocol by running his recommendation to close campus by university administrators.

“There is strict protocol to follow. I begin by calling the VP of Business and Finance Jan Van Der Kley at 4 a.m. when inclement weather like this hits and give her all the information available; conditions on campus, conditions of the city, weather forecasting, and I give my recommendations. The Vice President then confers with President Dunn and Provost Tim Green and then a decision is made,” said Holysz.

Holysz also provided a few scenarios.

“If  normal [4 inch] snowfall ends by 10 p.m., campus will be cleared by 8 a.m. ready for school to open. Snowfall greater than 6 inches will be cleared within 24 hours after the snow subsides,” said Holysz. “Early morning snow, that continues throughout the day, limits snow removal to passable conditions due to the high traffic flow. Campus will be cleared within 24 hours after the snow subsides.”


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4 Comments to What does it take for WMU to close? A break down of the process
    • Joanne
    • What about extreme cold? I think that is what most students were so upset up. Given the -25 to -30 windchills for students walking to class and add on top the extremely terrible roads conditions on Tuesday for students driving to campus. It is irresponsible of WMU not to take into consideration the safety of it’s students in those cases.

    • ChristinaCantero
    • Joanne and Rob,

      The director didn’t mention anything about that. But yes, that is something that many students have been asking about as well.


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