Winter Storm Update

29 January 2019

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

We’re all aware of the forecast calling for severe cold weather this afternoon into Thursday morning. These weather conditions present serious challenges for all of us and require careful decisions. To that end, Tuesday Group spent considerable time deliberating whether to close the College or to remain open during the polar vortex. We have decided that Carleton will remain open tomorrow. Carleton is a residential college, and we are best equipped to support students when the College continues its operations.

We’d like to thank people who have written or called to express concerns—urging that we cancel classes, that we close, or that we stay open. As you might expect, there were varied and intense views on these matters. This is not a moment for rigid insistence on adherence to past precedents or that everyone needs to simply “tough it out” in the face of severe cold.

Different schools, colleges and universities, businesses and other organizations need to make appropriate choices for them based on their specific circumstances, including their location, the characteristics of their student body and work force. We have tried to make a choice that is right for Carleton. Our approach is different from what we’ve done in the past. We are especially concerned about the more severe temperatures in the evening, and thus several areas of campus will close at 7 p.m. tonight and tomorrow night: the Arboretum, the Rec Center, Cowling, Stadium, and West Gym. We want to diminish the likelihood that people will be outside during the evening. Let’s all bear in mind the good advice shared with students about winter weather precautions. It is especially important to hydrate, to avoid alcohol and caffeine, and to drink warm beverages. In the hope that it will be helpful, free hot chocolate and apple cider will be available at the LDC, the Weitz Café, and the Sayles Café tomorrow from 1:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

As is our practice with winter weather events, faculty, staff, and students are urged to make what they believe are the best choices about whether they can safely travel to campus, whether they should hold class, and whether they should go outside to attend class or other activities. Faculty who would like to consider teaching courses remotely should consult the resource list provided recently through the LTC. Staff who have questions or concerns about their particular circumstances should discuss them with their supervisors or with Human Resources (see policy). Students who are uneasy about making it to class safely should reach out to their professors. We should all be understanding that individuals’ circumstances may differ.

While this situation presents us with difficult choices and different perceptions of what ought to happen, we all remain united in our commitment to support our students and each other in ways that best serve the College’s mission of education. Thank you for your dedication and participation in our work together.


Steve Poskanzer
Bev Nagel
Carolyn H. Livingston
Fred Rogers 

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