Governor’s mandate closes SUNY, CUNY schools

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — More than 300 schools, businesses, and centers are closed today as the snow keeps falling across the region. The University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, and Erie County Community College are among those closed.

“I’ve been here 5 years and I don’t recall a time when we closed before,” said Tom Thompson

“I didn’t expect that every building was going to be closed,” said Srinija Desirhau, a recent UB graduate who is on campus after a job interview.

Deserted dining commons and closed classrooms are unusual scenes around the University at Buffalo where the entire campus is shut down.

“Normally, the campus is so lively,” said Desirhau. “You see students everywhere and so many activities around so this is like dead.”

It takes a while to run into another person walking around campus on the snow day.

“No cars, there’s barely any snow, not a lot of wind yet,” said Lauren Morrow, a PhD candidate at UB. “To me this seems pretty normal winter Buffalo day.”

That’s what a lot of Western New Yorkers are saying seeing the amount of snow falling– calling into question why so many schools have shut down for the day. For some like UB, Buffalo State, and ECC, the decision came from the top.

“This was a mandate that came down from the governor’s office,” explains Jay Roorbach, the Senior Emergency Planning Coordinator.

The governor declaring a state of emergency across the state means all non-essential state employees are to stay home and that includes university staff members.

“That’s a tough decision,” said Roorbach when asked if he’d make this decision to close the university for a storm like this. “A lot more due diligence goes into the decision but we didn’t exercise that yesterday because it was a gubernatorial mandate.”

If needed, all state universities can decide on their own if they feel there’s a need to cancel classes.  It’s not a decision the university takes lightly or makes easily.  A group with varied interests and roles at universities meet and discuss the potential impact of closing, then they must reach out to the president who makes the ultimate decision. It’s an event that rarely happens.

“It’s really based on the impact of the event is and how much disruption it can cause and how safe we want to maintain the campus,” said Roorbach, who is keeping in close contact with Albany officials, trying to figure out if classes with resume on Wednesday.

 

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