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PS-01.D.04 - Emergency Closing

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EFFECTIVE DATE: July 09, 2015


PRESIDENT:  William Flores


While every effort will be made to maintain normal operations at all times, there may be instances when emergencies warrant closure of the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). This PS establishes the authority for decision-making and rapid communication of vital information in the event of an emergency situation. 


2.1 Emergency Situation: Emergency situations include, but are not limited to, active shooter situations, hurricanes, flooding, fire, tornadoes, ice storms, chemical releases, fires, explosions, violence, and other situations that affect the overall operation of the University. In the event of an emergency situation that has the potential to subject all or part of the University community to danger, the primary concern will be the safety of all members of the University community. The University will also strive to minimize interruptions to the educational, research, and service missions of the University. 


3.1 The President shall have the sole authority to close the University or to order its evacuation. Decisions regarding the evacuation and/or closing of the University will be made by the President (or the President’s authorized designee) in consultation with top executive staff. In the absence of the President, the authority to act will pass to authorized representatives in the following order: 

3.1.1 Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost 

3.1.2 Vice President for Administration and Finance 

3.1.3 Vice President for Advancement and External Relations 

3.1.4 Vice President for Human Resources 


4.1 In any potential University emergency the following steps will be taken: 

4.1.1 The Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management, Chief of Police, Director of Emergency Management, Manager of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Executive Director of University Relations will confer with the Vice President for Administration and Finance and together will evaluate the facts and the potential danger. 

4.1.2 The Vice President for Administration and Finance will advise the President of the facts and evaluation of potential danger. 

4.1.3 The President will confer, as needed, with members of the Cabinet and determine what action is to be taken. 

4.2 When the necessary actions have been agreed upon, the President or designated representative, will notify the following individuals and groups of the action, as appropriate. 

4.2.1 UHD Cabinet members 

4.2.2 UHD Police Department 

4.2.3 Office of the UHS Chancellor 

4.3 The Office of University Relations will send an announcement through all available resources, including UHD website, social media (Facebook, Twitter and others), email, text and other media as appropriate to notify the University community of the decision regarding closure, as long as the emergency has not interfered with the telecommunications availability. Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. it is the responsibility of each college or department administrator to ensure that those employees without phone or email access receive notification. 

4.4 The Office of University Relations will ensure that a message is posted on the University’s homepage on the website. 

4.5 If an emergency occurs after regular work hours but while classes are in session, the Office of University Relations will notify the UHD Police Department, which will notify all individuals still on campus of any decision regarding closure or evacuation. 

4.6 The Office of University Relations will contact the media via a press release. University students, employees, and visitors may obtain information regarding University closures by checking the website

4.7 University employees will be paid at their regular rate during the period of closure, and timesheets should reflect such time as administrative leave. Employees may, at their option, elect to leave their duties prior to the official closing and/or remain absent beyond the official reopening. Payment for such absences will be charged to vacation accrual. If there is no vacation balance, the absence will be considered leave without pay. 


There are no exhibits associated with this policy. 


Responsible Party (Reviewer): Vice President, Advancement and External Relations.

Review: Every three years on or before May 1 st .

Signed original on file in Human Resources. 


Issue #1: 01/14/00 


There are no references associated with this policy.