COLUMBIA — MU closed the campus Thursday afternoon for only the second time since 1949. All classes, exams and events scheduled after 12:50 p.m. were canceled.
The MU Student Center will remain open all night for students stuck on campus, according to a text message from MU Alert. Normally, the center closes at midnight.
"There are various places for them to go, study or stay warm," said Christian Basi, associate director of the MU News Bureau. "So that's a safe haven for students if they are on campus."
The campus will remain closed Friday, MU announced late Thursday evening.
Basi said the university decided to close its campus out of concern for the safety of students, faculty and staff. About an hour earlier, MU Alert posted a tweet announcing the cancellation of all classes.
Faculty and staff with critical jobs, such as health care or campus facilities workers, will continue working, Basi said.
"We have a hospital that cares for patients," Basi said. "We cannot simply shut the entire campus down."
MU closed from Feb. 1 to 3, 2011, during the "Snowpocalypse" storm that buried Columbia under more than 17 inches of snow.
The university has canceled classes several times without necessarily closing the campus because of snowfall since 1949, when the winter semester was delayed because of unspecified reasons, according to records from MU.