Yale has not had a snow day since 1978, and it looks as if today will be no exception.
While Governor Dan Malloy said he was prepared to close state roads and highways if needed after forecasts suggested 18 to 25 inches of snow across Connecticut through early Wednesday evening, Yale will stay open. Tuesday night, 51 of 56 Yale professors interviewed said they planned to hold classes as usual. From renting hotel rooms to digging out snowshoes, those professors said they would do their utmost to reach campus on time.
According to University policy, every employee must “make every reasonable effort to get to work as scheduled,” though “reasonable tardiness” on account of severe weather is excused.
In a phone interview from the Omni New Haven hotel Tuesday night, law professor Akhil Amar ’80 LAW ’84 said he checked in at the hotel directly after putting his children to sleep at home. Despite living just seven miles from New Haven, Amar said he is not willing to risk missing class.
“My students are going to be there and if they can make it, I can make it,” Amar said. “I almost thought about calling up a colleague who lives close to campus to ask, ‘Can I sleep on your couch tonight?’”
Professors who live in New Haven said they were prepared to dress for winter weather and make the trek to work.
Theater studies professor Toni Dorman said she planned to wear a pair of rubber boots purchased in Anchorage, Ak. last summer to her 9:25 a.m. course, “Senior Project in Theater Studies.”
“As I trudge through the snowy wastes of the Lawn Club parking lot, down Hillhouse, past the Beinecke and finally between JE and Branford [colleges], I’ll think about Balto the sled dog on his glorious run to Nome,” Dorfman said.
Even though classes are rarely canceled at Yale, University President Richard Levin said, employees may stay home during severe weather. Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said individual faculty may decide whether to cancel classes or not.
Economics professor Robert Schiller, music professor Seth Brodsky and political science professor Daniel Butler, among others, notified students Tuesday night that their Wednesday classes would not meet. English Department registrar Erica Sayers sent an e-mail to students warning that some English courses may be canceled today. Other professors said they will wait until this morning before making a final decision.
For other employees, though, the choice to continue work as usual is clear. Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Lindner affirmed that the Yale Police Department will be out in full force in an e-mail Tuesday night.
“YPD protects the campus 24/7,” Lindner said. “YPD never sleeps!”
Police officers will be stationed on local streets in four-wheel drive vehicles in order to respond quickly to student requests, said YPD spokesman Lt. Steven Woznyk.
Yale Health has canceled elective services such as colonoscopies for today to ensure that urgent services will be available, Lorimer said. Yale Health will be open during normal business hours, said medical assistant Margaret Brockamer, though staffing in each department will vary depending on individual availability due to the weather.
In Cambridge, Mass., officials at Harvard University also braced for heavy snowfall. All graduate and professional school classes are canceled, while undergraduate classes are not in session, according to an online press release. The Harvard Crimson reported that only staff members deemed “essential/critical” for university operation will be required to report to work.
Yale Shuttle and Yale Transit will operate as usual until 1 a.m. unless the weather grows too hazardous.
Alon Harish contributed reporting.