Closing policy to be revised

After the University shut down for two consecutive days in February due to severe weather, it prompted campus officials to update the school policy and more clearly define emergency closings.

This new emergency policy will cover anything from terrorist threats to building fires and is currently going though an approval process by the administration.

Bryan Benner, vice president associate for administration, said the policy shifts every couple of years. It is currently getting feedback from the President’s cabinet, Benner said.

Rebecca Ferguson, vice president of human resources, described the updated outline for the emergency procedures.

“This new policy will be extremely broad and handles emergencies case by case,” Ferguson said.

The current policy only deals with cases of severe weather and very narrow descriptions of instances when the University would close.

According to Ferguson, the new policy will cover fires on campus, natural disasters, bomb threats, national tragedies, campus disturbances or riots and terrorist attacks.

“It has a very detailed list and the level of that emergency,” Ferguson said.

Each emergency is labeled with a level on which the University bases their decision to close. For example, a dorm fire or a bomb threat would be considered a level two. A level three emergency would include any campus disturbance or riot and a national tragedy.

This crisis policy will still have the same closing rules and procedures as the severe weather document.

The severe weather policy for BG states, “For the duration of the closure, only essential employees will be expected to report to, or remain at, work.”

All departments on campus go through a process every fall of determining who the essential employees are, Ferguson said.

The University tries to keep places open that a student living on campus would need to live comfortably. These include the Student Health Center, dining services, computer labs and the Student Recreation Center.

The severe weather policy also states that classified staff and students who report to work during an emergency “will be paid two and a half times their hourly rate of pay for all hours worked for the duration of the emergency.”

When the University closed in February due to a level three snow emergency in Bowling Green, many students who work on campus were unaware if they had to report to work.

Brendan Carroll, a sophomore who works at the Falcon’s Nest, was unsure of the procedures of if he was expected to come in to work.

“I didn’t get a call either way, so I assumed I had to still work during the snow day,” Carroll said.

Other students were surprised they were paid a higher wage for coming in during the school closing.

Paul Phillips, a senior working at Commons, came in to work during the snow emergency because he was already scheduled.

“At Commons, I made two and a half times my regular pay for disaster pay. If you were unable to get to work you were still paid your regular pay,” Phillips said.