The simple answer to this week’s question is just short of an act of God. UR is much like the postman. That is, come rain, sleet, wind, power outages or feet of snow — mail, or in this case classes and university operations on a whole, are likely to get delivered.

“It is a general university policy that we never close,” Vice President and General Secretary Paul Burgett said. “We have a responsibility to keep the hospital open and we have a majority of students who are already here.”

Burgett, who in his words has “been around [UR] since the earth’s crust has been cooling” only remembers a couple of days where university operations have been limited by bad weather. Then, the school reverted to maintaining “essential operations.”

Director of Public Relations Robert Kraus said UR policy defined essential staff as those of the Medical Center, UR Security, central utilities plant, dining, housing and other facilities services.

While UR doesn’t ever close, classes are canceled every once and a while. The last weather related cancellation was Friday, March 7, 1999, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. The snow storm, which hit a day before spring break and dropped 43.3 inches over a three-day period, froze a lot of vacation plans, Burgett said.

He remembers similar but slightly smaller storms in 1993, 1977 and 1966 that caused similar reactions. The 1993 blizzard also occurred over spring break and caused travel headaches for students looking to get back to Rochester.

So a massive snow storm likely won’t prevent a test, but Burgett said students still have hope for the fabled snow day because ultimately the authority to cancel individual classes lies with the professor.

“Ultimately, the responsibility to keep the academic schedule running is up to the faculty,” Burgett said. “If a professor can’t get to class, a professor can’t get to class.”

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