New University closure policy announced
Dec. 21, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University has updated its policy for suspension of normal operations due to severe weather or other emergency conditions. The new policy is effective immediately and includes clarification of ways in which faculty, staff, students and the general public will be notified of University closures.
The complete official policy for University closure follows this summary of key points:
Media contact: Matt Kurz, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
Official University policy for closure
University operations may be suspended due to weather conditions, physical damage or other emergency conditions that prevent normal operations.
The decision to close all or part of the University for reasons of weather, building conditions or disruptive actions will be made by the president or his/her designee. The Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance and the Department of Human Resources will handle details and questions regarding this policy.
In cases of complete or near complete shutdown, local news media will be used under normal circumstances for notification purposes. The University will make every reasonable attempt to notify local news media by 6 a.m. in such instances. The emergency and information number for the University is 387-1001. Employees may call that number to find out the status of the University. If only selective operations are involved, or if the closure occurs after the beginning of the workday, each affected department will be notified. The lack of specific notification to the contrary should be interpreted to mean that normal operations are to be maintained.
It is recognized that severe weather conditions may cause problems for some employees in coming to or leaving the University. In such circumstances, unless a collective bargaining agreement provides otherwise, employees are permitted to use annual leave or leave without pay, subject to approval by the supervisor, for times they are absent due to weather-related reasons when the University remains open.
Specific cases and varying conditions or circumstances may require special action or decisions. However, some basic policy statements regarding closure decisions are presented:
A. In the absence of notification to the contrary, all normal operations will continue as scheduled. If there is any doubt as to whether the University will be in operation, a message will be available on the University's Web home page <www.wmich.edu> with additional details in WMU News <www.wmich.edu/wmu/news> and also through WMUK-FM (102.1), WIDR-FM (89.1), and telephone access at 387-1001. Closure announcements will be on these same sources as well as the general public media.
B. In the event that emergency conditions are so severe that on-campus classes must be canceled, the University will close except for essential services.
C. The vice provost for Continuing Education is authorized to cancel off-campus classes in accordance with policy established by that office.
D. Essential services will be maintained during a period in which the University is closed. These include the following units:
E. When a decision is made to close the University, the following notification steps should be taken:
1) Vice president for business and finance
2) Associate vice president for university relations
3) Provost and vice president for academic affairs
4) Secretary of Board of Trustees
5) Vice president for student affairs
6) Vice president for information technology
7) Vice president for research and dean of the graduate college
8) Vice president for development
9) Assistant to the president
F. In order to protect unavoidable income losses to employees whenever the "University is closed," and subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreement, all faculty and staff not required for essential operations during the period of closure will be excused from work and be paid as though the period of closure were a holiday. However, it is the University's sole judgment as to who is required to work and who is not. Whenever the University is closed from normal operations, employees will fall into several groups for the purpose of determining pay.
Should any part of this policy conflict with a collective bargaining agreement, the collective bargaining agreement shall prevail.
(Approved by the president March 23, 1978; revised June 1978; August 1979; April 1985; December 1986; February 1988; November 1989; January 1991; December 1992; January 1994; January 1996; December 2000.)