College Reopens After Snowstorm
Issue   |   Wed, 01/28/2015 - 20:07
Shirley Duquene '17 Staff Photographer
Students participated in a snowball fight on the first-year quad Tuesday after the worst of the snowstorm had passed.

Amherst College resumed operations Wednesday after a winter storm prompted the college to cancel classes and shut down most buildings on Tuesday. Despite warnings from the National Weather Services of a “crippling and potentially historic” snowstorm, the storm proved to be milder than expected in the Pioneer Valley.

Chief of Campus Operations Jim Brassord announced the closure on Monday afternoon, after Massachusetts Governor declared a state of emergency and issued a travel ban for Tuesday. In addition to canceling classes, the college chose to close all buildings except for Valentine Dining Hall, LeFrak Gynasium and the dormitories.

Normally when the college is closed, individual faculty members may opt to continue holding classes. However, Brassord said that because of the extreme weather, senior administrative staff made the blanket decision to cancel all classes. Because of the cancellation, the add/drop deadline for the spring semester has been extended two days, until Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.

Many staff members stayed on campus overnight in order to remove snow from the campus and respond to potential emergencies. Among those who stayed overnight were staff members from custodial, grounds, the trades, Dining Services and campus police.

Valentine remained open during regular hours, despite being short-staffed for the day. Director of Dining Services Charlie Thompson said that Valentine aimed to provide as much of its posted menu as possible during the storm.

“In anticipation of the storm, we brought it the first half of the week’s food supplies today instead of having Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday deliveries, in the event that distributors could not get to us,” Thompson said.

Approximately 12 Valentine employees stayed on campus overnight, and several Amherst students offered to work extra shifts in the dining hall on Tuesday.

Although Brassord alerted students on Monday about dangers from tree limbs falling or the college losing power, little damage was visible on Tuesday. Additional staff arrived on campus at 6 a.m. to relieve the overnight crew and finish clearing the snow from roadways on campus.

Despite warnings to stay indoors, many students could be found sledding and skiing down Memorial Hill as the storm petered out in the afternoon. At 3 p.m., Brassord announced that the college would reopen fully on Wednesday morning.

“The storm is trailing off and is less intense than some of the forecast predicted,” Brassord wrote in an email to The Student on Tuesday.

By Wednesday morning, much of the snow had been plowed, and classes resumed as usual.