Emergency Closing Policy for Colgate University Skip Navigation

Emergency Closing Policy

The university will make every effort to provide essential services to residential students and campers, even in cases of extreme adverse weather or other emergencies. Therefore, the university will almost always remain open. 
Under extraordinary conditions, however, the university may: (1) close entirely and cease operations (2) close while asking essential personnel to report (3) close during operating hours while asking essential personnel to remain and/or report or (4) delay opening while asking essential personnel to report or (5) early release due to extreme adverse weather or other campus emergency.

University Status

Closed

This status may apply under unusual, extreme conditions. If the university is closed, employees are not to report. However, certain employees necessary to protect the university and maintain life safety systems may be asked to report by the appropriate Vice President/Dean (or their designee) on a case-by-case basis. These employees will be notified in response to each specific emergency. An official closing announcement will be communicated via the university communications channels described in this policy.

Closed with Essential Personnel Reporting

This status may apply where severe weather conditions or other emergencies interfere with normal operations. Classes will normally be cancelled. Essential personnel identified at the end of this policy will be expected to report, unless told not to do so by a supervisor. Under certain circumstances, a limited number of non-essential personnel may also be asked to report based on the type of emergency and the specific needs of the campus. A supervisor must have the approval of the appropriate Vice President or Dean before asking non-essential personnel to report. An official closing announcement will be communicated via the university communications channels described in this policy.

Closing during Normal Operating Hours

This status may apply where severe weather conditions or other emergencies interfere with normal operations after the workday has begun. An official closing announcement and time will be communicated to all employees via the university communications channels described in this policy. Classes will not be held after the closing time. All but essential personnel may leave the campus. Essential personnel will be expected to remain until relieved or notified by their supervisors to leave.

Delayed Opening

This status may apply when severe weather conditions interfere with employee travel but conditions are expected to improve. Classes will normally be cancelled during the time of the delayed opening with essential personnel expected to report. If conditions do not improve, a decision may be made later to close the university (essential personnel reporting). An official delayed opening announcement will be communicated via the university communications channels described in this policy.

Early Release

This status may apply when severe weather conditions interfere with employee travel. Generally classes will not be cancelled, and some offices may need to continue to operate. As a result, some staff may be asked to remain or, in the case of second or third shift employees, to report to work by the supervisor. Second and third shift employees should check with their supervisor to determine whether or not to report. An official early release announcement and time will be communicated to all employees via the university communications channels described in this policy. Essential personnel will be expected to remain until relieved or notified by their supervisors to leave. As indicated elsewhere in this policy, employees must make individual decisions about whether to travel between the university and home based on local conditions. Every effort will be made to accommodate essential personnel who feel that it is unsafe to travel.

Localized and Temporary Closing

Extreme conditions occasionally may make working conditions in a particular building or location intolerable. Supervisors or employees in the affected unit(s) should discuss the problem with Environmental Health and Safety and the Human Resources Department. If the problem cannot be resolved, the supervisor may request permission of the Division Head to temporarily close the area or location. Building closures may be authorized by the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Provost/Dean of the Faculty, the Director of Campus Safety, or the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Decisions to Close the University

Decisions to close the university will be made by the Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Provost/Dean of Faculty in consultation with other university executives as needed, including, but not limited to, the Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety, Emergency Management and Environmental Health and Safety or the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Communication and Information Sources Concerning University Status

Reliable university status information is available through the following sources:
  1. Colgate’s e-mail system from Campus Alerts
  2. Colgate’s RAVE Alert System
  3. Colgate’s home web page (colgate.edu) and social media (Updates on Twitter @colgateuniv and facebook.com/colgateuniversity) - these mediums will only be used in certain situations and should not be relied on as the primary source for information.

Although closing information is provided to the following regional news outlets, experience suggests that the information broadcast may not be reliable. However, these may be the only operational information sources in the event of some power failures.

WKTV Channel 2
WTVH & WSTM Channels 3 and 5
WSYR Channel 9
Time Warner Cable News Channel 10

Safety

Irrespective of University status, employees – even essential personnel – must make individual decisions about whether to travel between home and the university or between the university and home based on local conditions. Employees who cannot travel should notify their supervisors as soon as possible, if communication is practical.

Compensation During an Emergency Closing

Hourly employees will be paid for the time they normally would work while the university is officially closed and during a delayed opening. Hourly employees designated as essential personnel who report and those asked to report by their supervisors will be paid for the number of hours worked during the emergency closing and, in addition, will have the option of either: 1) receiving additional pay for the actual hours worked, or 2) receiving time off equivalent to the number of hours worked. Any time off taken by an employee should be used as soon as practical after an emergency closing. Supervisors are responsible for tracking this time.

Employees who report to work when the University is officially closed or during a delayed opening who have not specifically been asked to report will not be eligible for the additional compensation or equivalent time off.

When there is a localized or temporary closing, hourly employees will be paid for the time they normally would work while an area, location, or building is closed.

Employees who do not report to work or who leave work early without an official closing or early release should charge the time missed to accrued vacation. Employees who do not report following a delayed opening or leave prior to an early release, will be required to use vacation time for the entire absence. An employee may be permitted to make up a limited amount of time missed, within the same work week, with the supervisor’s approval.

States of Emergency

States of emergency may be declared by head officials of the Village of Hamilton, the Town of Hamilton, Madison County, and the State of New York. A state of emergency is operationalized by accompanying executive orders that declare a curfew, prohibit travel, control traffic, designate areas as emergency shelters, and close public places of assembly. States of emergency do not mean that roads are closed, unless so stated.  Even if roads are closed, essential personnel and employees asked to report by their supervisors should report, but only if they are able to travel safely between home and the university.

Essential Personnel

Essential personnel are identified by job title and department below. These employees should keep a copy of this policy in their vehicles to identify themselves to authorities during emergencies. Colgate and Chartwells ID cards also will specify essential personnel status.

Non-essential employees asked to report by their supervisors should receive email or other hardcopy notification to identify themselves to authorities during emergencies whenever practical.

Departmental Plans

Departments are responsible for creating their own call lists and plans for communicating the needs for their departments with their employees.

The following employees have been identified as essential personnel:
  • Administration – President
  • Administration – Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Investment Officer
  • Administration – Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
  • Administration – Vice President for Communications
  • Administration – Associate Vice President for Facilities & Capital Projects
  • Administration – Associate Vice President for Human Resources
  • Campus Safety – Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety, Emergency Management and Environmental Health and Safety
  • Campus Safety – Associate Director for Administrative Services
  • Campus Safety – Assistant Director for Investigations
  • Campus Safety – Lieutenants and Sergeants
  • Campus Safety – Officers/Dispatchers
  • Chartwells Dining Services – Director of Operations
  • Chartwells Dining Services – Management and Supervisors
  • Chartwells Dining Services – Frank Dining Hall and Coop Production Staff
  • Dean of the College – On-Call Dean
  • Dean of the College – Vice President and Dean of the College
  • Dean of the College – Associate Vice President and Dean for Residential Programs
  • Dean of the College – Dean of Students
  • Dean of the College - Dean for Administrative Advising and Student Conduct
  • Dean of the College – Director of Residential Life
  • Dean of the College – Director of Student Health Services
  • Dean of the College – Director of Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Environmental Health & Safety – Director of Environmental Health and Safety
  • Environmental Health & Safety - Duty Officer on Call 
  • Emergency Management – Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness Manager
  • Emergency Management - Fire Safety Technician
  • Communications – Media Relations Director or Social Media Strategist
  • Facilities – Grounds Staff
  • Facilities – Heating Plant Staff
  • Facilities – Shift Millwrights
  • Facilities – Shop Forepersons (Carpenter, Painter, Electrician, Millwright, Plumber, Custodians and Grounds)
  • Facilities – Custodial Supervisors
  • Facilities – Architectural Trades Manager
  • Facilities – Director of Facilities Operations
  • Facilities – Director of Grounds and Environmental Services
  • Facilities – Mechanical Trades/Energy Manager
  • Facilities – Director of Planning, Design and Construction
  • Facilities – Trade Supervisor
  • Information Technology – On-Call Network Administrator
  • Provost/Dean of the Faculty
  • Provost/Dean of the Faculty – On-Call - Animal Care Technician
Updated November 16, 2018.