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Winter is here – What you need to know about campus safety and security

A snowy scene on U of T Scarborough's campus.

There’s a chill in the air and that can only mean one thing – shorter days, longer nights and frigid, snowy Canadian weather.

Luckily there are many weather and safety services available to staff and faculty on campus that make dealing with winter a little easier.

We spoke to Gary Pitcher, UTSC’s Director of Campus Safety and Security, on how we can find out about class cancellations due to severe weather and what other safety services are available on campus. 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but winter is around the corner and that means snow and ice. How can we find out about class cancellations? 

In the case of severe weather, classes may be cancelled by the Principal. Once a decision to cancel classes has been made we will communicate that information by email, on the UTSC homepage, intranet, digital screens, the emergency information line (416-287-7026), cell phone alerts on the UTSC app and through our official social media channels.

As soon as class cancellations have been made that information is also sent to TV and radio stations. If the weather is lousy in the morning, it’s a good idea to keep an eye and ear out for any messages before coming into work. In the rare occasion that the campus is closed completely, staff and faculty will be notified the same way as class cancellations. 

Are there any other services available during winter that staff and faculty may want to know about?

UTSC Campus Police does have a battery booster program that we run all year. This program can help drivers who may get stranded on campus with a dead battery. The battery booster packs we have are easy to use and available in the campus police office. It’s also a free service, you just need to show ID, read the instructions and sign a waiver. The cold weather can wreak havoc on car batteries, so if staff and faculty find themselves with a dead battery it’s a good service to know about.

Winter also means it’s getting darker earlier in the day. Are there walk safe services available to staff and faculty on campus?

We have quite a few programs available to staff and faculty. They can use UTSC Patrol where a patroller will meet and them anywhere on campus. This service is always available, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. To get a safety escort simply call 416-287-7022.

There’s also the Lone Worker program for staff and faculty who may find themselves working alone after regular business hours. Each participant is able to sign out a personal safety radio from the Campus Police Office. Each radio can put the user in direct contact with Campus Police should a personal safety emergency happen. This allows our officers to respond immediately.

I would encourage staff and faculty to visit the Campus Police website or call campus community police at 416-287-7398 for more information about any of the programs and services available to them.  

What can staff and faculty do in the case of an emergency?

In the case of an emergency they can call Campus Police immediately at 416-978-2222. There are also emergency telephone locations across campus that provide a direct line to Campus Police when the receiver is removed from the cradle or the button is pressed. Our officers can pinpoint the location of the call immediately. 

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Our Campus Police are highly trained professionals and sworn Peace Officers. They are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They patrol the University on foot, bicycle and by car to enhance our personal safety, to prevent property crime and to monitor for fire and other hazardous conditions. They are here to help us. Not only are they friendly and courteous, they’re an excellent resource to have on campus in the case of an emergency.




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