On Wednesday 2 December we had to take a very difficult decision to close the University and postpone the Award Ceremonies.
This decision was taken due to the extremely severe weather conditions as we needed to safeguard the health and safety of our visitors, students and staff. Following the first ceremony of the day an Emergency Planning Committee meeting was held and emergency procedures on campus were invoked.
We were made aware that there was extreme travel disruption including gridlocked roads and the cancellation of the majority of public transport services. Snow fall was far heavier than expected, and as such we took the decision at lunchtime to close the University. Great Horton Road, the main route to campus, was extremely dangerous for both vehicles and pedestrians, and there were reports of car crashes taking place.
We were being contacted by many graduands to inform us they would not be able to attend. We had a duty of care to protect the safety of all of those on campus, and all those thinking of coming to the campus. As the majority of local schools were closing around lunchtime, many of the staff involved in the ceremonies needed to leave to collect dependents, and we wanted to give staff the chance to try and get home before dark.
With this in mind we felt we had to postpone the ceremonies. This decision was not taken lightly and we sincerely sympathise with graduates, their friends and families who have been affected. We will be organising alternative arrangements so the graduates affected can still attend a ceremony.
We have put together some frequently asked questions for those students who were due to graduate this week.