Click here for COVID-19 updates affecting the campus community

CMU closes campus due to inclement weather

A Bulldozer drives down the road after removing snow on Jan. 28 on the Campus of Central Michigan University.

Central Michigan University closed campus due to inclement weather after a winter storm warning was issued for a large part of Michigan last night. 

The closing was announced at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 28. Students who had 8 a.m. classes were still expected to go to class unless the instructor called it off individually. 

"As today's storm has now unleashed its full force, Central Michigan University's main campus and Global Campus headquarters in Mount Pleasant are closing immediately," CMU's statement read. "All offices, buildings, events and classes are closed or cancelled with the exception of residence halls."

Students brush snow off their vehicles on Jan. 28 near Main Street.

The National Weather Service warned that Mount Pleasant could see anywhere from 8-12 inches of snow until 7 p.m. tonight. Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause hypothermia, it warned. 

“We’re seeing wind chills below zero temperatures and could even reach 25 below freezing at times,” National Weather Service Grand Rapids Meteorologist Mark Sekelski said. 

Last night, students and professors pleaded on social media that CMU should consider closing its doors. Some even used a #closeCMU hashtag to spread the word. 

"Well, (I) really can't understand what (CMU) is thinking in this situation," Assistant Professor of Meteorology John Allen tweeted. "Snow is now getting heavy and visibility decreasing. If you are in a situation where you have to drive, please be careful, and definitely carry a shovel as you will need it by end of day."

This morning, Allen told Central Michigan Life that he lives just east of Mount Pleasant and his road typically is one of the last ones to be plowed when there is a ton of snow. 

According to CMU's cancelation policy, "the decision (to cancel classes) will be made in consideration of available information." Allen said meteorologist have been expecting this weather for the past few days. 

"It is not often that the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids issues a winter storm warning," he said. 

Other state universities like the University of Michigan, Grand Valley State, Saginaw Valley State and Western Michigan have also canceled classes. Even Michigan's state government offices in the Lower Peninsula closed this morning. 

"While there is going to be blame flying around, closures are a difficult decision," Allen said. He thinks that this could be an opportunity to review CMU's cancelation policy. 

Sault Ste. Marie junior Travis Zaborowski had an 8 a.m. class this morning and made the trip from Copper Beech apartments on 4750 E Blue Grass Rd. near Menards. 

"The roads were pretty bad and weren't plowed," Zaborowski said. "There weren't many cars out."

A snow plow drives to clear the next lot on Jan 28 on the campus of Central Michigan University.

Zaborowski started a two-hour class at 8 a.m. When he and his classmates got the update from CMU, they alerted their professor and class was dismissed. 

UPDATE, 12:13 p.m.: 

At 12:07 p.m., Central Michigan University tweeted: "We have heard the frustration being expressed about CMU's weather-closure decision earlier this morning. Rest assured, the health and safety of our entire campus community is our priority." 

The CMU twitter account said they decided to close at 8:20 a.m. Communications began alerting students and faculty at 8:50 a.m., it said. 

"We began evaluating the weather last night and our first conversation this morning was at 4:45 a.m.

"Considering our students have paid for their education, we decided to keep the university open, knowing we would continue to evaluate."