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University of Minnisota  Administrative Policy

Campus and Building Closing: Twin Cities

Responsible University Officer(s):
  • Vice President for University Services
Policy Owner(s):
  • Assistant Vice President for University Health and Safety
Policy contact(s):
  • Paige Rohman
Date Revised:
Sep 22, 2015
Effective Date:
Dec 1, 1994

Policy Statement

In accordance with the University's official Emergency Operations Plan, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, portions of campus, or building(s) will be closed in the event that a situation poses a serious risk to the health, safety, or security of the University community, research animals, or other mission critical assets.

Determination to Close

The Officer of the Day will determine when a situation warrants a closure or cancellation of classes (e.g., adverse weather conditions, hazardous material release, terrorism, or other threat). Consultation with the Executive Vice President and Provost and other appropriate executives will occur prior to making the decision to close or cancel classes, time permitting, depending on the nature of the situation or the protocol as defined in the Emergency Operations Plan.

Closing Notification

Faculty, staff, and students will be notified as quickly as practical through internal and external communications systems, including, as appropriate, the University's e-mail, TXT-U, tone alert radios, and home page, as well as broader external media resources (television, radio), once a decision is made to execute a closure or cancel classes.  Additional communications with specific information regarding the hospitals and clinics will follow.

Affected Individuals

In the event of a closure:

  • affected employees, excluding work-study students, who are not identified as essential employees will continue to be paid as usual during the closure
  • affected employees who are identified by their supervisors as essential employees must continue to remain on campus as directed by their supervisors (see also Appendix: Pay Provisions During Emergency Closings)
  • affected non-critical, work study students may not be paid with work-study funds for their regularly scheduled hours affected by the closure

Special Situations

Certain major public events sponsored by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics or the Department of Concerts and Lectures are not automatically subject to a Twin Cities campus closing. The Officer of the Day will determine whether the public event may be held. Consultation with the Executive Vice President and Provost and other appropriate executives will occur prior to making the decision to close, time permitting, depending on the nature of the situation or the protocol as defined in the Emergency Operations Plan. The event sponsor must contact University Relations once a closing is announced so that a list of such events may be compiled for review and so that the decision related to the status of the event in light of the closure may be communicated properly.


This policy does not apply to University of Minnesota-Crookston, -Duluth, -Morris, or -Rochester, or any other University installations outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area (Minnesota Arboretum, Research and Outreach Centers, etc). Chancellors and directors of these other University locations are responsible for developing, communicating, and implementing policies and procedures related to individual or multiple building, campus, or portions of campus closures.  See Related Information for links to these other closing policies and procedures.

Reason for Policy

The University recognizes the need to prepare for unexpected situations or respond to weather that may require the closure of all or part of a campus; to identify the decision-making hierarchy for such closures; to ensure timely notification to students, staff, faculty, and visitors; and to confirm affected individual responsibilities in the event of a closure.




Frequently Asked Questions


Primary Contact(s) Paige Rohmann 612-624-7266
Emergency Operations Plan Director of Emergency Management - Lisa Dressler 612-625-9446
Personnel/compensation issues during potential/actual closing Contact your unit HR administrator    


Adverse Conditions
Adverse conditions include severe inclement weather conditions that pose serious risk to the health or safety of University personnel and/or students.
Emergency/Disaster Conditions
Emergency/Disaster conditions may exist as a result of a natural or human-caused disaster, a civil disorder that poses an imminent threat of serious injury to persons or property, or other seriously disruptive events where extraordinary measures are required immediately to avert, alleviate, or repair damage to University property or to maintain the orderly operation of the campus.
Essential Employees
An employee who has been designated as vital to the operations of the University, whose presence is required regardless of the existence of an emergency condition, and whose absence from duty could endanger the safety and well-being of the campus population, research, and/or physical plant. Employees may be designated as critical on a situational basis, e.g., in the event of an emergency. Those employees deemed "essential employees" must be notified of such designation by their supervisor. Essential employees are required to report to work in the event of a closing unless specifically informed by their supervisor that they are not to report.
Officer of the Day (OOD)
Individual designated by the President with full authority to act on their behalf in handling emergencies affecting the University. The OOD must always be available for a rapid response to Twin Cities campus issues. The primary OOD (Vice President for University Services) arranges for an alternate when not available, and communicates this schedule to the Chief of Police, the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), and others on campus.
University Email
University email is the official system of communication with students (see Administrative Policy:Using Email as Official Student Communication).
TXT-U is the University of Minnesota's emergency notification text messaging system. Students, faculty, and staff can stay informed about critical campus class, safety, and closing information by registering to receive TXT-U messages. University employees and students may register for TXT-U here.


All Employees and Students
Listen to media announcements and monitor the University's home page for specific closing information.. Maintain current information for TXT-U, the University's emergency text message notification.
Building Evacuations
In the event of building closings, everyone in the building must follow the instructions communicated by authorized individuals (e.g., University Police, University Health and Safety, Local Fire and Law Enforcement or other emergency responders (ie. EMS)).
Officer of the Day
Assess emergency/disaster situations and makedecision on whether to close all or portion(s) the Twin Cities campus in the event of an emergency/disaster.. Act as the Chief Executive in the event of campus emergencies /disasters and in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Make appropriate contact with other senior University officials, government, community, and private sector entities. Brief the President as required. Make staffing and funding decisions to support the emergency response. Approve internal and external communications relating to the emergency. Ensure overall system coordination/response including system campuses.
Vice President for University Services
Serves as the Primary Officer of the Day (OOD).
University Relations
Communicates in a timely and accurate manner with people both internal and external to the University on closures or class cancellations for the Twin Cities campus. Manage public communication regarding status of hospitals and clinics.
Unit Administrators
Develop a specific set of procedures for their own units within the guidelines of overall University policies and procedures. Notify essential employees as to their designation and responsibilities in the event of an emergency closing. Develop, maintain, and execute a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) if applicable.

Related Information


September 2015 - Structured policy and delegation of authority for the decision to continue or suspend operations of the University (Twin Cities campus specifically) is necessary to ensure timely decision making and provide clarity for students, faculty, and staff about the impacts of those decisions. Added language about class cancellation to clarify that is included under this policy, as there have been instances in recent years when the University did not close, but did cancel classes. Other minor updates to reflect current information.
December 2010 - Major Revision, comprehensive review. 1. Expands the policy to cover closing of individual or multiple buildings, in addition to a full campus closing. 2. Specifies the Officer of the Day as the individual responsible for determining when to close a building or campus, in consultation with the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, and other appropriate executives as the situation permits. 3. Improves readability of the policy by reorganizing and consolidating information in associated Appendices (e.g., employee compensation during a closing). 4. Title updated from "Emergency Closing Policy" to "Campus and Building Closings: Twin Cities." 5. Responsible Officer and Ownership has moved from Senior Vice President Academic Affairs and Provost to Vice President for University Services.
December 2003
December 1999
December 1998
December 1994
December 1994
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