Safety & Emergency Information

Inclement Weather

In case of Inclement Weather Conditions

Storm Hotline:

Some resources when bad weather strikes:


Can't safely get to campus? Stay home!

Students, faculty and staff who are unable to get to Western because of dangerous conditions may decide to remain home, even if the university is open. Each decision is a personal one and should be made according to individual judgment. Staff should contact their supervisors if they will be unable to get to work on time because of the weather conditions. See Western's Inclement Weather and Suspended Operations policies for more information. Faculty should make every effort to notify students of any class cancellations. Also, see directions for using Canvas to make announcements.

What happens if the university is open during a day of bad weather but the faculty member can’t make it to class? What do students do?

Our policy is to empower individual faculty to make their own decisions regarding cancellations. This reflects Western’s view that individual faculty members know the circumstances of their classrooms best. In the vast majority of circumstances, the approach is effective. Faculty members should communicate to students via e-mail or Canvas well ahead of time if they have to cancel a class. Similarly, students who cannot get to class should let their professor know. We recommend that faculty members communicate ahead of time as much as possible if a class must be canceled. The recommended method for faculty to apprise students of class cancellations is via announcements in Canvas. More information on class cancellations from ATUS.

If class is not canceled but a student can’t attend because of bad weather, will the student be penalized for not making it to class?

The university advises faculty members to balance concern for student learning and accountability with concern for student safety. If a class is not canceled, but a student feels they are unable to safely travel to campus or traverse campus to attend class, the student should promptly contact their professors via email to inform them of their absence and inquire about missed coursework if applicable. Students who feel that they have been unfairly penalized for classes they missed due to bad weather should first speak with the faculty members involved. If those conversations do not resolve the issues, students should contact each faculty member's department chair.

What should students or staff do if they experience difficulties making it to campus during inclement weather due to a disability?

Campus members with disabilities are advised to exercise extra care when traversing campus.  Students with disabilities who are concerned with safety are encouraged to communicate directly with their professors if they may be absent from class due to winter conditions.  Absences for students with disabilities due to winter conditions merit accommodation, so communication with faculty about modifications and adjustments of deadlines or examinations is appropriate.  Staff and faculty with disabilities who may experience difficulty traveling to campus or traversing campus should communicate directly with their supervisors.
During inclement weather, as at all times, unauthorized vehicles are prohibited from parking in disability parking spaces. Please contact Parking Services (360-650-2945) immediately if an unauthorized vehicle is blocking access to a disability parking space. Also note, vehicles with a valid state disability permit (and a Western Washington University permit from Monday-Friday 7:00AM-4:30PM) may park in disabled parking spaces in any lot on campus, regardless of the location of any parking permit.  More information about Parking Disability Access Information.

Will the student shuttle run during inclement weather?

Student shuttle service may be cancelled if severe weather causes unsafe driving conditions. For updated information on the student shuttle, call 360-650-6500. To receive text alerts when the shuttle is cancelled due to weather or other emergency, text “follow wwushuttle” to 40404.

What is the difference between the Western Student Shuttle and WTA?

The Western Student Shuttle service is a late night bus service for Western students only. The service is funded by the Student Transportation Fee and managed by the Student Transportation Program. A valid Western ID is shown to the driver when boarding. Service may be canceled during ice and snow conditions because roadways are not sanded or plowed during late night hours. WTA is a local public transit service serving Bellingham and Whatcom County. A WTA bus pass or cash fare is required for boarding. During ice and snow, some WTA routes may be detoured or delayed. Both services provide Twitter alerts for service updates. For more information, see:

If the university closes, does that mean the dorms close too?

No, not at all. When the university closes, it cancels classes. However, university residence halls remain open and the residential and retail dining outlets will remain open per scheduled hours as much as possible. Other university services will generally continue to be provided.

What’s open/closed when Western closes due to inclement weather?

When the university closes/’suspends operations’ due to snow or other weather issues WWU Libraries, the Student Health Center and the Wade King Student Recreation Center also close. Dining halls and dorms will remain open, however, retail dining options and service hours may be reduced.

When the university closes because of inclement weather, are the Western Libraries also closed?

Yes, Western Libraries will close due to inclement weather if the University announces a closure of main campus. Western Libraries may also close if Western cancels evening classes, if the WTA cancels bus access to or through main campus, if the late night campus shuttle is cancelled, or if it is deemed that weather presents dangers to staff and students.

How do I get more information?

As conditions change, the WWU website, the WWU emergency website and the storm line/emergency hotline at 360-650-6500 will be updated with current information.

Local radio stations that may carry closure info:

  • KGMI AM-790
  • KUGS 89.3 FM


Page Updated 2/5/2019