Snow at McMicken College

With the changing of the seasons and as the weather turns cold, the University of Cincinnati (UC) continues to prepare for the impending first snowfall and frigid temperatures.

Prior to the first circumstance of cold weather or snow, the university has plans set in place to prioritize safety of campus and maintaining its critical operations. 

These plans are created and coordinated by the Department of Public Safety's emergency management staff, headed by Edward Dadowsky, director of emergency management and business continuity.

One such plan is the Emergencies Operations Plan for Winter Storms and Severe Cold. This document outlines each department’s response actions following inclement weather.

The plan appoints James Whalen, outgoing director of public safety and university police chief, as the incident commander during a snow emergency.

As outlined in the plan, the university’s facilities grounds crew is to remove snow from campus sidewalks, Parking Services is to plow the campus roads, and Public Safety’s public information officer is to inform the UC community of any applicable closures. 

Salt, gravel, and sand are procured in advance by the grounds crew or Parking Services for the university in the case of severe winter weather. 

The campuses are susceptible for closure if the inclement weather presents a threat to the UC community, according to a UC News Press Release. The medical campus and UC regional campuses operate separately from main campus.

“UC's Winter Weather Closure Procedures may call for cancellation when the National Weather Service declares a wind-chill warning (approximately -25 degrees) for an extended period of time during the daily commute or normal university operating hours,” according to the release. 

The Department of Public Safety was unavailable for comment. 

The decision process for closing campuses or canceling classes involves Whalen, who is to consult with the vice president for health affairs, the provost and the deans for the Blue Ash and Clermont campuses as necessary.

If main campus were to close, “the Director of Public Safety or a designated cabinet officer of the University of Cincinnati may issue an announcement of campus status as appropriate to the situation,” according to the Department of Public Safety.

This announcement would be communicated through email, on the UC homepage, as a voicemail on the UC main telephone line, text message alerts, social media outlets, and through Cincinnati media outlets. 

Efforts are made by the Department of Public Safety to announce any applicable delays or closers before 5:30 a.m., according to the Winter Weather Closure Policy.

If a university closure occurs during the day, an announcement will also be made via the voice-activated building alarm system.

Regardless of a university closure, there are buildings on campus that will never close, including the College of Medicine, utility plants, Hoxworth Blood Center, the University of Cincinnati Police Division and residential housing units, among other departments.

This winter season, students and the entire UC community can monitor the university’s social media pages or opt into theemergency text messaging system to receive updates about the most current situations regarding inclement weather.