To: UHCL Faculty, Staff and Students
Every effort is made to maintain normal operations of all facilities at University of Houston-Clear Lake; however, there are times when emergencies, most often weather-related, warrant closure of our campus. In preparation for the 2012 hurricane season (June 1 - November 30), we should all take a moment to review university closure procedures.
Sole responsibility for the decision to close the university in the case of any threatened or actual emergency rests with the president. The decision to open following such a closing, likewise, rests with the president. In the president's absence, his designee in the following sequence makes the decision to open or close the university: 1) Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, 2) Vice President for Administration and Finance, 3) Executive Associate to the President.
For weather-related emergencies, the UHCL Chief of Police or his designee is responsible for monitoring the National Weather Service System for severe storm, tornado, hurricane and flooding watch/warning reports. This information is used by the president or his designee to make the decision to close or reopen the university.
UHCL's Executive Director of Communications or her designee is responsible for coordinating university closing or opening announcements with the University of Houston System as well as notifying the local news media. Contacting the media in a coordinated fashion is necessary to minimize the possibility of public confusion or misunderstanding, given the similarity of institutional names and the likelihood that individual UHS universities will make different decisions regarding closings.
If the university is in session at the time of the emergency, the decision to close will be conveyed to faculty, staff and students by use of a public address system, UHCL's emergency website, email, telephones and/or word of mouth. If not in session, the president or his designee will notify each vice president, who, in turn, will notify faculty and staff members of decisions to close or reopen. UHCL Emergency Information emails and text messages will be sent as appropriate to update faculty, staff and students. Media coverage enhances this effort and conveys the information to the community-at-large.
During inclement weather, it is vital for everyone to stay abreast of news coverage about weather or road conditions and emergency information regarding personal safety and evacuation instructions. Recognizing the diverse range of personal circumstances faced by individuals, UHCL urges faculty, staff and students to make decisions in the best interest for themselves and their families. Employees who are unable to report for regularly scheduled work hours should coordinate anticipated vacation or other applicable leave with their direct supervisors before taking time off while the university is open and operating under normal conditions. Students who are unable to attend scheduled classes should coordinate missed sessions and coursework with their professors.
It is important to note that UHCL is not authorized, nor prepared, to serve as a general shelter for employees, students or the general public. If UHCL is closed, only essential emergency management and response personnel may remain in the university buildings or on the campus grounds. This is not a matter of personal choice. Remaining in your office, a classroom or anywhere else on campus once the university is closed puts you at risk and could endanger emergency personnel who may have to rescue or assist you.
The best sources of information as to whether the university is open or closed are the UHCL Hotline (281-283-2221) and UHCL Emergency Information website (www.UHCLemergency.info).
William A. Staples