Russell C. Carey, Executive Vice President of Planning and Policy, doesn’t cancel school for a bit of snow, even if it comes with an 800-signature petition. This winter, though, a pair of blizzards have forced Carey to call two snow days, catapulting him into the spotlight and making him one of the most popular administrators on campus. I sat down with Carey to talk snow days and the possibility of a 2016 Presidential campaign.
BlogDH: What exactly is the job of the Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy?
Carey: I have responsibility for campus safety and chair the Core Crisis Tea. For example, public safety reports to me. I oversee the team that really manages and responds to major crises, including winter weather. And certainly the blizzard at the beginning of January was in that category.
BlogDH: How do you decide when to call a snow day?
Carey: We gather a lot of information. We subscribe to a weather service that gives us very accurate weather information. Even several days out from a storm people are watching those forecasts. A key priority is: Is it safe? The January blizzard was clearly a life-threatening situation, but it can vary a lot depending on timing and accumulation. There’s just basic set of considerations. Is it possible to operate? Is the weather such that people that have to commute to campus can do so? Is there a parking ban? What’s the ability of the staff to clear the campus before classes begin? It’s very weather and day specific.
BlogDH: Would say that student petitions, for example, have negligible impact on your decision to call a snow day?
Carey: [Laughs] Negligible. Less than negligible.