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Why doesn't the University have snow days?

BY KELLY FRASER

Published December 7, 2006

The chances that your exam will be postponed due to a blizzard are slim. The University has not canceled classes for inclement weather in 28 years.

Jessica Boullion
Alex Sulzer, Diag senior horticulturist, shovels snow from the front steps of Angell Hall after a storm covered Ann Arbor with snow last year. The University has not canceled classes for inclement weather in 28 years. (file photo by Mike Hulsebus/Daily)

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But contrary to campus legend, there is no policy forbidding the University from cancelling classes.

The myth that classes can't be canceled because a distraught Law School student sued the University for a day's tuition following a snow day in the 1970s is unfounded, said Dave Reid, the University's director of human resources communications.

"Although there has been a long-standing rumor about such a suit, the University's Office of the General Counsel has not found record of it," he said.

The decision to cancel classes ultimately rests with University President Mary Sue Coleman or an appointed representative.

Because the University is a primarily residential campus, it can often stay open when commuter campuses cannot. Paul Courant, then the University's provost, told the University Record in last year that the University would remain open expect in severe emergencies because it has a responsibility to students for daily services.

The most recent weather-related closure was for two days in January 1978 when the area was blanketed with 19 inches of snow. The Michigan Daily reported at the time that students threw an outdoor beach party and spent the day lounging in snowdrifts while the theme to "Endless Summer" blared in the background.

The University has closed two other times in its history for weather - for one day in 1945 and in 1974.

KELLY FRASER

- Pondering a great mystery of the University? Let the Daily step in and help you out. E-mail suggestions to news@michigandaily.com.