Procedure for Administrative Closings/Suspension of Operations

 

Purpose

In order to protect the safety of its community members and facilities, the administration of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) may suspend or close the UTC campus and/or its operations due to inclement weather conditions or other emergency situations. This procedure is intended to clarify the process by which such decisions are made and communicated to the UTC community and the general effect of administrative closings/suspensions on UTC's operations.

 

Scope and Application

This procedure will be followed by the UTC administration for evaluating and determining whether to suspend or close the UTC campus and/or its operations due to inclement weather or other emergency situations and for communicating such decisions to the UTC community.

 

Procedures

The following procedure will be followed with respect to any inclement weather event or other emergency situation that may lead to the suspension or closing the UTC campus and/or its operations:

 1. UTC Emergency Services (ES) will initiate monitoring of the inclement weather event or other emergency situation and perform an initial risk assessment of the event.  ES will consult, as necessary, with local, state, regional, or national agencies for assistance in monitoring and assessing the event.

2. If ES makes an initial assessment that the event poses a safety risk if UTC were to continue normal operations, ES will: (1) report its concern to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance and (2)  engage the UTC Emergency Assessment Team (EAT)[1] to perform a more comprehensive risk assessment of the event.

3. The EAT will collect sufficient information to make a reasonable determination of the event's risk to and impact on UTC operations and report its assessment to the Chancellor and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). Whenever possible, the information that informs the EAT's assessment should be based on first-hand knowledge about the condition of campus facilities, ongoing or planned campus activities and events, and recent news reports concerning both on- and off-campus conditions.

4. The Chancellor, in consultation with the ELT members, will weigh other university considerations and implications to reach a decision on whether to suspend or close UTC's operations. The decision to suspend or close all or part of the UTC campus and/or its operations will be made by the Chancellor (or the Chancellor's appointed representative).

5. The Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance will communicate the administrative closing/suspension to ES.  ES will then begin, as necessary, appropriate response operations and communications.

6. The UTC community will be notified of an administrative closing/cancellation via campus-wide e-mail, RAVE (UTC Alert) text message, and UTC website alert. The UTC Office of Communications and Marketing will also notify local media outlets of the administrative closing/suspension.

 

Administrative Closings

All campus facilities, except housing and other facilities necessary for the provision of essential functions and services, will be closed and secured. Employees and students are advised not to be on campus during an administrative closure unless necessary. 

A. Continuation of Essential Functions and Services

During an administrative closure, UTC personnel will continue to provide certain essential services and functions on campus.  The essential functions and services that will be provided and the UTC personnel needed to provide them will be determined on a situational basis.  The Vice Chancellors (or their designees) will determine the essential functions and services that will be provided in their respective divisions and notify the EAT of such essential functions and services to be provided and the personnel who will be on campus during the administrative closure. 

 B. Authorized Employee and Student Access to Academic Facilities

As appropriate and necessary, the Provost or Vice Chancellor of Research may authorize certain employees or students to access closed academic facilities during an administrative closure upon request from the dean or department head of the academic unit.  Upon approval from the appropriate administrator, UTC Police Department (UTCPD) personnel will grant authorized employees and/or students access to the closed facilities of the academic department.

 C. Meeting of Scheduled Classes Through Electronic Means

As feasible and appropriate, scheduled classes should meet through electronic means (e.g., UTC Learn) during an administrative closure. 

 

Delayed Openings

In the event of a delayed opening, the Chancellor (or the Chancellor's appointed representative) will determine a specific time of opening and that information will be distributed as provided under Section III.6 above.  As feasible and appropriate, classes with regularly-scheduled meeting times prior to the opening time should meet through electronic means (e.g., UTC Learn).

 

History and Review

A. Version

This is the first version of this campus procedure. 

B. Periodic Review

 This campus procedure is effective December 15, 2017.  This campus procedure will be reviewed on or before December 15, 2022.


[1] The EAT is composed of UTC administration officials responsible for campus law enforcement, risk and safety, facilities, housing, recreation, communications, food service, and transportation.