Students waking up for their 8:30 a.m. classes on Wednesday were met with snow-covered streets and canceled classes.
Binghamton University called a snow day on Feb. 7, canceling classes and closing offices early due to a storm system that the National Weather Service said dropped approximately 5 1/2 inches of snowfall on the area. At some points throughout the day, Broome County experienced snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour. A winter storm warning remained in effect for the county until 10 p.m.
Students received notifications regarding the cancellation just before 5:40 a.m, with many receiving multiple emails and text messages. There was an error in the subject of the initial email alert, which said that only early classes were canceled. The body of the email stated that all classes had been canceled.
According to Ryan Yarosh, director of media and public relations at BU, the University usually communicates with students, faculty and staff in more than one way while trying to disperse safety information quickly.
“We use multiple methods of communication to reach all students, faculty and staff, including B-Alert, B-Line, Dateline, electronic message boards, the web and even a voice recording,” Yarosh wrote in an email. “When safety is an underlying issue, we choose to select multiple modes to ensure the message is received.”
Despite the class cancellations, the rest of campus remained open, although some offices and dining options closed early. In a Dateline announcement, employees were instructed to report to work as usual, but to use caution.
Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) buses canceled service all day Wednesday. Buses are expected to return to their normal schedule on Thursday, Feb. 8, according to the OCCT website. Broome County Transit stopped service on some of its routes, including Route 16, which runs express from Downtown Binghamton to campus.
According to Yarosh, the decision to cancel classes is made by a team of 12 people including BU President Harvey Stenger, Dave Hubeny, director of emergency management at BU and Tim Faughnan, chief of Binghamton’s New York State University Police. Last year, the University cancelled two full days of classes after Winter Storm Stella dropped over 30 inches of snow on the Binghamton area.
It costs the University roughly $2 million each time classes are canceled, according to a BingUNews post.
“This is not a decision we take lightly and in this case the overwhelming information that a major snowfall would occur throughout the day today helped us decide that canceling classes was in everyone’s best interest,” Yarosh wrote.