Closure Policy

Reduction, suspension, or closure of University operations

University operations may be reduced, suspended or closed due to weather conditions, facility damage or other emergency conditions that prevent normal operations.

The decision to reduce, suspend, or close all or part of the University for reasons of weather, building conditions, disruptive actions or health risks will be made by the president or his/her designee. The Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance and Human Resources will handle details and questions regarding this policy.

In cases of complete or near complete closure or shutdown, the University's website—www.wmich.edu—and local news media will be used under normal circumstances for notification purposes. The first notice will be posted on the WMU home page, and 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 (269) 387-1001. Employees may call that number to find out the status of the university. If only selective operations are involved, or if the situation develops after the beginning of the 8 a.m. 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 certain conditions may cause problems for some employees in arriving to or leaving the University. In such circumstances, this policy should be observed as outlined. Specific cases and varying conditions or circumstances may require special action or decisions. However, some basic policy statements regarding suspension, reduction, or closure decisions are presented herein. This policy will be instituted in the following manner:

Employee and operational designation definitions

  1. Essential services: Those offices/departments which must maintain staff on duty regardless of the conditions.
    • Public safety—as designated by the director of public safety.
    • Power Plant
  2. Conditional essential services: Those offices/departments which may be required to maintain staff during certain conditions. These authorizations are at the direction of the president, provost or vice president for the designated area(s).
    • Maintenance Services—as designated by the Facilities Management director
    • Building Custodial—as designated by type of emergency/condition as listed by buildings on a roster maintained by the Facilities Management director.
    • Landscape Services—as designated by the emergency/condition per the instructions from the Landscape Services director or supervisor, or as authorized by the Facilities Management director.
    • Dining Services—as designated by the emergency/condition per list of Dining Service units maintained by and designated by the Dining Services director or managers as authorized by the director of Dining Services.
    • Office of Information Technology—as designated by the chief information officer.
    • Any other department or unit designated via the president or his/her designee.
  3. Critical services: Those services that must be maintained during a prolonged closure for an emergency situation such as a pandemic, terrorist attack or massive tornado damage to the University. These critical services are required to preserve either human or animal lives, maintain the physical infrastructure, or continue essential business services until the emergency has been mitigated. They will be determined by vice presidential approval of a department’s completed business continuity survey.
  4. Non-essential services (during emergency type conditions): All classes and other University operations and events unless designated and announced via the president or his/her designee.
  5. General closure: All classes, activities and events canceled and all offices closed. Conditional essential services staff report as designated.
  6. Specific closure: Specific classes, activities and events canceled and offices closed as announced. Conditional essential services staff report as designated.

Notification of type of closure and duration

  1. Closure: Begins at the time of the president’s (or her/his designee’s) announcement and ends when announced or at the start of the next day. All employee work schedules within the period of the closure, would qualify for the holiday period pay designation. Closure will be announced via local news media, the University website, University access telephone and vice presidential “phone trees” down through the departmental level.
  2. Classes, operations and events will be canceled and offices closed at the time of the official notification.
  3. Students, faculty, staff and visitors will be advised as to any needed precautions prior to being dismissed or sent home.

Staff needed for closure

  1. Essential and conditional essential staff should report on their scheduled shifts/work schedules.
  2. All employees deemed as essential services will be required to remain at work. All employees deemed as conditional essential services will be informed of the need for their services as required by the type of emergency condition.

Pay status for reduced/suspended operation of the University

  1. Employees required to work per “Staff need for closure” above, will be placed on a “holiday pay” status from the time of the declared emergency until the end of their shift/workday or until such time as the emergency period ends, then such pay status is curtailed.
  2. Prior to official closure/reduction/suspension of operations, employees unable to report for work may utilize annual leave for any period prior to the official time of the announced closure/reduction/suspension of operations.
  3. Employees forced to remain off work due to the prolonged closure of the University will be informed of their pay status and or options as soon as the closure situation is evaluated.
  4. Any employee who, prior to the announcement of closure, who has reported in as “sick,” was scheduled to be on annual leave, or who decides to leave work early or to not come to work due to weather or other emergency related reasons will be paid as though there were no closure and thus will be charged for sick leave, annual leave, or leave without pay for the period not worked.

Notification procedures

  1. 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 WMUK 102.1 FM and WIDR 89.1 FM, and through telephone access at (269) 387-1001. Closing announcements will be on these same sources as well as in the general media.
  2. When a decision is made to close, reduce or suspend University operations, the following notification steps should be taken:

    Vice president for business and finance:

    • Notify executive director for university relations
    • Notify vice president for advancement and legislative affairs
    • Notify provost/vice president for academic affairs
    • Notify business and finance major unit heads
    • Notify the secretary to the Board of Trustees
    • Notify the vice president for student affairs
    • Notify the vice president for development
    • Notify the vice provost/chief information officer
    • Notify the vice president for research
    • Notify the vice president for legal affairs

    Executive director for university relations

    • Notify area news media
    • Notify vice provost for Extended University Programs
    • Notify the director of Intercollegiate Athletics
    • Notify the assistant to the president

    Provost/vice president for academic affairs

    • Notify academic deans
    • Notify departmental chairs
      • Notify other major academic units
      • Notify library

    Secretary to the Board of Trustees

    • Notify trustees

    Vice president for student affairs

    • Notify major unit heads

    Vice provost/chief information officer

    • Notify major unit heads

    Vice president for research

    • Notify major unit heads

    Vice president for development

    • Notify major unit heads

    Assistant to the president

    • Notify the Office of Institutional Equity
    • Notify the Office of Diversity and Inclusion

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 1996, December 2000 and April 2009.)

WMU Closure and
Emergency Hotline

(269) 387-1001