University of Michigan students start petition asking to cancel classes during extreme weather

Posted at 10:43 AM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 10:54:38-05

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — University of Michigan students are hoping to get snow days of their own as the extreme cold temperatures move throughout metro Detroit.

An online petition, titled #UMichColdShoulder, started by students from the Michigan Student Power group asks the administration to cancel classes and close the Ann Arbor campus ahead of the impending weather.

The petition reads:

Our demand: The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor must close campus during harsh weather conditions - not just in extreme circumstances. A refusal to do so is classist and ableist, with disproportionate effects on workers, low income community members, and community members who are not able-bodied.

Since Monday night -- when the petition was created -- the Michigan Student Power group has secured more than 9,000 signatures. They are just a few hundred away from their 10,000 goal.

The University chose to remain open Monday despite the snow showers and extreme wind chills. Students say the University has closed before when wind chills approached -30 degrees back in 2014.

"According to the Michigan Daily, the last time the University was closed was on February 2nd, 2015 due to a severe snowstorm. Before that, the school closed on January 28th, 2014 due to temperatures dropping to -11 and wind chills approaching -30 degrees. On January 30th, 2019, the weather forecast projects a high of -4 and a low of -16, with an arctic air mass bringing a windchill of -40 degrees. If this forecast is true, the Midwest would be facing the coldest air it has in decades."

U-M officials say they are closely monitoring the expected temperature drop for later this week but have not decided to close just yet.

While a decision won’t come until this afternoon, based upon current projected conditions, Division of Public Safety and Security will likely make a safety recommendation that will impact scheduled classes, programs and events for Wednesday and Thursday.

View the University's weather operation policy and updates here.