Montclair State is infamously known to New Jersey college students as the university that never closes. In March 2015, the university remained fully operational, despite Governor Chris Christie announcing a state of emergency in N.J., causing many professors to cancel classes and many students to abandon their trek to campus altogether.
While the university has had snow days in the past, they have been few and far between. Yet, for the second time in 2017, Montclair State was closed on Tuesday due to a winter storm. All classes and activities were canceled and offices were closed.
Monday morning, the university communicated to students, faculty and staff that the decision to close campus would be announced at 4 p.m. In years past, students, faculty and staff would wake up hoping to have received a late-night alert, but making these decisions earlier put much of the Montclair State community at ease, knowing they would not have to worry about traveling in the winter weather. At 4 p.m., as promised in the morning alert, everyone was informed that campus would be closed on Tuesday.
It may have taken years, but Montclair State is finally beginning to effectively manage campus closures due to winter weather. While many students, faculty and staff have their own horror stories of traveling to campus in the dead of winter, it is easy to realize that massive changes are taking place.
The university is setting clear expectations by announcing a time at which the decision to close or not close will be made. This lets everyone know when to look out for the decision, and more importantly, that the university is considering the options.
By announcing openings and closures early, the university is giving individuals ample time to prepare. Those with children can make arrangements and professors can adjust their syllabi accordingly to ensure they are able to get through all the content of their courses.
It finally seems like Montclair State University is beginning to understand that there is a superior way to communicate closures. The campus community can only hope that the university continues this practice in the years to come.