U-M Ann Arbor Cancels Classes First Time in 36 Years Over Subzero Temperatures


The University of Michigan (U-M) Ann Arbor cancelled classes Tuesday for the first time since 1978 due to subzero temperatures. The decision cheered students up as they were urging officials to call off classes Monday.

Nicholas McLaren, a 21-year-old political science major was among them. The senior was glad that the university thought not to risk lives in the dangerously low temperatures.

"I believe this is absolutely a great move," McLaren said. "I walked all over campus today and it is absolutely frigid out. If it was colder tomorrow and they had classes, there would have been a legitimate danger to students," Detroit Free Press reports.

Josh Morof, a pre-med sophomore at U-M, said that just last week the school introduced Dr. Mark Schlissel as the school's 14th president and the immediate week they have canceled classes for the first time in 36 years.

"It may be a coincidence but it's also nice to know that change is possible," said Morof, 19, of West Bloomfield Township, Detroit News reports.

The cancellation was only applicable for students. Faculty and staff were asked to report Tuesday.  Since travel by foot would prove dangerous in the low wind chill temperatures, the staff was either asked to use vacation time or unpaid time off or to hold meetings by phone or video. The officials urged their supervisors to be flexible and reasonable with their decisions.

On Tuesday, temperatures went down to hazardous, record-breaking lows in Michigan that led to the shutting down of several schools.

Besides Ann Arbor, University of Michigan-Flint, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Oakland University, Wayne State University, Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University were closed for the day. Michigan State University went ahead with their scheduled classes.

The National Weather Service said that Jan.28 set a record low 9 degrees below zero at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus. The previous record was set Jan 28 1977 of 8 degrees below zero. The strong winds added to the chilly weather with people experiencing 30 degrees below zero temperatures in the Detroit area, Lasing State Journal reports.

Meteorologist Steve Considine at the weather service office in suburban Detroit said that the weather is expected to ease starting Wednesday.

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