President's message to parents about Hurricane Florence

September 10, 2018

Dear Parents,

As we continue to monitor the forecast for Hurricane Florence, I want to assure you that we are dedicating all available resources to student safety and welfare. We are in constant communication with city, county and state officials and putting appropriate plans into place. I want to take the opportunity to address some of the more frequently asked questions we have received thus far regarding Hurricane Florence:

Do students need to evacuate now?

No. And at this time we don't expect that they will need to. In fact, Columbia often serves as an inland host city for evacuees from the coast, where damage is typically worse due to storm surge. We've made preparations to keep our residence halls and dining options open and we'll continue to offer other essential services.

How will campus closure decisions be made?

The Columbia campus will close Tuesday (Sept. 11) until further notice per Governor McMaster’s executive order to allow for the safe and efficient evacuation of coastal counties. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about the storm's path. We will have a much clearer picture of what to expect as new forecasts become available.

As a state agency, the university follows the delay and closing determinations of Richland County government. University officials will continue to consult with state and local officials and any updates on potential cancellations or closings will be posted on, social media and Carolina Alert

Will food and other services be available to students during a closure?

Yes! During the last two hurricanes, Hurricanes Irma and Matthew, many students remained on campus and in Columbia. Although classes were cancelled, essential services like dining and the student health center, including counseling and psychiatry, as well as Thomas Cooper Library and recreational facilities, remained open. This will also be the case with Hurricane Florence. 

I appreciate your concern and attention. As Gamecocks, our students share a bond of resiliency and kindness toward one another during difficult times. I have no doubt that this will be no exception, despite what the storm may bring. Please remember to visit for updates. 


Harris Pastides
President, University of South Carolina

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