University Operations Affected by Emergency Conditions

Policy number: 9.12

Policy section: Police & Public Safety

Revised Date: March 14, 2022


1.  Policy Statement

Severe weather, utility disruptions, or other emergencies may necessitate starting late or closing early, other short-term operation reduction, or closing of some University programs and operations. The University will close only under exceptional circumstances due to safety issues or concerns that it is unable to support its teaching, research and public service activities in a satisfactory manner. Separate decisions regarding closings or cancellations will be made for the Taos campus, which may not be affected when the main campus is closed or may be closed when the main campus is not, depending on local conditions.  As a general matter, alterations  to University operations should be managed in a manner consistent with SMU’s Resilience and Crisis Management Policy 11.3 and the Emergency Management Plan.  The SMU Police Department will maintain the Standard Operating Procedures to affect this policy.

2.  Altering the University Schedule

The decision to alter the University's operating schedule will be made after consideration of these factors:

  1. Official weather and other emergency service reports from the National Weather Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other local, state, and federal agencies as appropriate for the emergency. Additional factors to be considered are the operational status of other schools and businesses in the area.
  2. The condition of main campus sidewalks, buildings, parking lots, grounds and landscaping, utilities, and public and campus transportation.

3.  Event Communication and Notification

  1. Cancellation of or altering performances or other cultural, student, or athletic events will be approved by the President or by the President’s designee.The University President or designee is the only person authorized to alter the University's operating schedule due to an emergency.  Individual Schools, Colleges and Departments are not authorized to make their own decisions regarding altering the University operations.
  2. Marketing and Communications will communicate the decision through appropriate channels which may include a text and/or e-mail message to all students, faculty and staff, information posted to SMU websites -- main page and SMU Aware, SMU social media channels and notifications to local news media.

Essential Emergency Response Personnel, as defined in policy 7.7, will be mobilized as needed to support students residing on campus and to respond to the emergency conditions.

4.  Recording and Compensating Time

  1. In the event of an unscheduled delayed opening, early closing, full-days closing of a short duration all benefit eligible employees (exempt and non-exempt) will be paid for hours scheduled to work that day. If the emergency situation persists for an extended time, the University will evaluate pay continuation depending on the circumstances.
  2. Any employee choosing to come in later than a planned opening, leave prior to an early closing, or chose not to work on a day were operations have not been altered, must communicate with their supervisor and record the times as vacation or leave without pay.
  3. At the time a decision is made to alter the University’s operating schedule, a decision will also be made concerning which category(ies) of Essential Employees, under University Policy 7.7 Employee Classifications, will be required to work. Persons designated as Essential Employee who are required to work during the unscheduled reduction or closing, without regard to the duration, will be paid overtime only for hours actually worked in excess of forty (40) hours in the work week in which the emergency occurred.
  4. If the University is closed on payday, pay will be issued on the next work day the University is open. Checks deposited automatically/electronically will be deposited and available on the scheduled date.

5.  Staff and Faculty Considerations

When the University is open during emergencies affecting University operation, the University community is advised of the following:

  1. Individual faculty and staff members, in deciding whether to report to work, should consider foremost their individual safety.
  2. Persons choosing not to report to work must either record the time as vacation leave (if leave is accrued) or leave without pay.
  3. Paid medical leave may not be used unless conditions exist (illness, family death, etc.) which would otherwise qualify under University Policy 7.15, Paid Medical Absence.

Revised: March 14, 2022

Adopted: November 16, 2011