Campus closures relayed through RAVE

Bekah Collins, Staff Writer

Missouri Southern’s campus was closed Monday due to substandard weather conditions.  The shutdown postponed classes and meetings, keeping students, faculty and staff at bay to await improvement.

 The police department contacted the office of Bob Harington, director of physical plant, as usual Monday morning, to report that snow and ice might prove difficult for commuter students in the area.

“Even if [the weather] is not really bad, we’ll give him a call,” Ken Kennedy, chief of campus police, said. “Ideally we would close prior to 5 a.m., if there’s enough time to get the word out through the media we won’t need to do an emergency text message on our RAVE system.”

Because the official notice of cancellation was not given until 6:30 or 7 a.m., according to Kennedy, the department sent out a RAVE alert. According to Kennedy, the system sends out emergency messages at a rate of one second per thousand messages. RAVE messages also supersede other messages on the queue of service providers like ATT and Verizon, ensuring that urgent alerts are not inhibited by other messages.

The president’s council has several factors to consider when deciding to close the campus.

“One of the things that really does come into play is if all the other schools in the area are closing,” Harrington said. “We’ve got so many students who are commuter students, they’re parents, and if their kids are out of school and they don’t have any other means of taking care of their kids, that creates another issue.”

Harrington relays the weather conditions to Rob Yust, vice president of business affairs, who helps further determine whether cancelation is necessary. “We’ll discuss weather conditions, we’ll discuss what’s in store for the future, what is going on on campus … whatever the case may be,” said Yust. “Then we start watching the news to see what other schools are closing in the area.”

Harrington also has the job of making the campus accessible after a snowstorm. He contacts the grounds supervisor who initiates a call tree consisting of a list of area people involved in snow removal.

“They start calling each other until we get everybody here,” Harrington said.  “We’ll start bringing our people in as early as we can, but in reality, the equipment that we have available to work with, it doesn’t do us any good until the snow actually stops. Trying to clear snow with what I’ve got while it’s still falling is kind of like a wasted effort.”

Many students not only have to navigate across campus but also city roads,  of which the University has no control.

“I may be able to get the campus cleaned up in time for school, but if you have students coming in from all over the area coming in on roads that are still really bad, that creates a problem too,” Harrington said.

If you would like to receive emergency RAVE alerts on your mobile device, go to www.getrave.com, enter your Lionet ID and password, and your phone number.