For the first time in 34 years, all classes and extracurricular activities on Yale’s campus have been canceled, according to University Vice President Linda Lorimer.
Hurricane Sandy — a massive storm that Lorimer called “a very unusual set of weather circumstances” — is expected to hit New Haven today, and University administrators have effectively shut down Yale’s campus in response to the impending severe weather. Administrators also decided to close libraries, offices and Commons dining hall so nonessential staff do not have to come to campus. The decision to implement the emergency response came from concern for the safety of those living on campus as well as those who travel to school, largely due to the high winds that could bring down branches and power lines, Lorimer said.
“Obviously the storm has unprecedented potential, and we [are] taking care of [faculty] and staff and graduate students who don’t live on campus,” she said. “The prudent course of action was to cancel classes.”
Lorimer said the University will likely issue a curfew to all students tomorrow, instructing them to stay in their residential halls during a certain time period. She said the school cannot predict when the curfew will go into effect, but it is dependent on when the high winds hit New Haven. The University will issue a statement concerning Tuesday’s classes by 2 p.m. today.
University spokesman Tom Conroy said the University is on “full alert” and well-prepared to mitigate the effects of the storm. Lorimer said Yale’s facilities department is prepared to intervene and “attend to any damages” if water floods a basement or a tree falls, adding that she and other administrators will staff an emergency operations center beginning at 8 a.m. Parking and Transit Manager Edwin Bebyn said in an email that all campus shuttle services stopped at midnight Sunday night.
Surrounding universities including the University of New Haven, Sacred Heart University, Southern Connecticut State and the University of Hartford all canceled today’s classes as well.
Dining halls will remain open for all three meals, though students who do not live in their residential colleges are encouraged to stay indoors, according to an email sent by Jonathan Edwards College Dean Jody Spooner ’91. Colleges handed out bags of snacks, sandwiches and water bottles Sunday evening to provide sustenance to freshmen on Old Campus and annexed upperclassmen.
Students took advantage of the opportunity to stock up on food for the next few days. Will Heffner ’16 walked back from Saybrook with two large bags of food and a multi-pack of juice bottles.
“It’s not stealing food,” Heffner said. “It’s the Hunger Games, OK?” he added, pointing out a nearby Saybrook freshman who carried even more snacks back to Lanman-Wright Hall.
Ryan Proctor ’16 said he was one of several freshmen who ran around Old Campus in excitement when the cancellation was announced. He added that it was a “weird feeling” to get excited about a hurricane, and that he would probably use the night to do some work.
Sarah Matthes ’13, co-editor-in-chief of The Yale Literary Magazine, said she had to postpone part of the magazine’s essential content selection process on Monday night. She said she does not think the shuffle will be a major problem, and the group probably would have cancelled the meeting without the mandate from the school to accommodate members stranded off campus.
Despite the inconvenience, Matthes did not complain about the weather.
“Oh, it’s great,” Matthes said. “Everyone’s super excited about it and they’re going to have great parties.”
Abby Johnson ’15 said she was relieved that her professor postponed her Wednesday midterm for “Issues Approach to Biology.”
“I have a lot of work this week I have to do, so thankfully I can postpone studying bio,” she said.
The last cancellation of classes and activities across the University came during the “Blizzard of ’78,” a February snowstorm that resulted in over two feet of snow blanketing New Haven. Lorimer said Governor Ella T. Grasso shut down Connecticut roads for the occasion.