University Park administrators acknowledge missed call on weather

January 11, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Aware that icy conditions at University Park campus on Jan. 11 created travel challenges for faculty, staff and students, Penn State officials are pledging to do better.

Although temperatures began to rise overnight, a drop in temperatures in the morning led to icier-than-expected conditions. The University Park community was alerted to icy spots on campus at 7:45 a.m. via PSUAlert, the University’s text/email messaging system used for weather notifications and emergencies.

“Generally speaking, our procedures for campus delays or cancellations work very well, but the unexpected rapid clearing in the early morning led to lower-than-forecast temperatures and icy conditions on sidewalks, streets and parking lots,” said David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business. “We do our best to make decisions and send alerts to the University community as quickly as possible, especially knowing that some individuals have a significant commute to campus.

“We missed on this one and are working to improve our protocols to ensure Penn State’s response is timely and appropriate.”

University leadership, including officials from Penn State Police and Public Safety and the Office of Physical Plant, met on the morning of Jan. 11 to discuss these issues and are implementing the necessary changes to protocol to prevent a recurrence in the future.

Safety is always paramount and Gray urged faculty, staff and students to make travel decisions based on their own personal safety and needs.

As winter continues, faculty and staff should review Handling Weather Day Absences (Human Resources Guideline 10) on the Web at for specific information on how time missed for weather situations is handled. Answers to frequently asked questions about University Park weather events, visit online.

When severe weather strikes Penn State's University Park campus, individuals can stay informed of delays and cancellations by using Penn State's PSUAlert systemFacebook page, the News website and WPSU TV and radio. Other local television and radio stations also will inform the public.

Last Updated January 11, 2017