Skip to main content
  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

Inclement Weather Policy Review

Because of Winter Storm Stella, Cornell shut down at noon on Tuesday March 14 and remained closed until 4:30pm on Wednesday March 15.

There were three Cornell Alert communications associated with the event:

The Monday  3:00 pm   message was a heads up that the storm was coming. It included links to  emergency-related websites and communication channels.

The Tuesday 10:40 am   message stated that the university was closing at noon and would probably open back up at noon on Wednesday.

The Wednesday 9:50 am   message stated that the university would re-open at 4:30pm.

How the shutdown process works is detailed in these documents:

Policy 8.2 on Inclement Weather

Inclement Weather Protocol

Shutdowns do not happen that often:

In 1993  Cornell closed  on March 12 (last Saturday of Spring Break) and reopened on Tuesday March 14.

In 1997   Cornell closed at noon on January 5 and reopened the following morning

In 2007  Cornell closed  at 12:30pm  on February 14 and reopened at 9am the following morning.

After the 2007 closure there was a petition signed by 1400 students, staff, and faculty asking for a review of the shutdown process. This produced a report and a set of improvements.

One week after the Stella event was created and I invited faculty and staff   to share their experiences and to suggest ways to improve the shut down process. There were 330 replies and you can  read anonymized versions of them all in this 100+ page pdf:

 Snow Days at Cornell

Based on what I learned from this outpouring of concern I have created  a webpage for Frequently Asked Questions.  Some questions still need answers and I will work on that with colleagues  over the summer and  early fall. is still open for business in case you have inclement weather insights to share over the summer!

Thanks to everybody who took the time to write.

Charlie Van Loan
Dean of Faculty





Last Updated: May 3, 2017 at 9:46 pm