Guidelines for Establishing Essential/Non-essential Personnel in Case of a Campus Emergency

The definition of which employees (among all faculty, staff, and administrators) are essential will vary depending on the circumstances. However, there is a core of essential personnel who should remain in most circumstances. This core includes exempt and non-exempt positions as follows:

Essential Core

  • Security
  • Environmental health and safety custodial, snow removal, chemical hygiene officer, disaster clean-up, etc
  • Food services (particularly if residence halls remain open)
  • Communications
    • Marketing and Communications Director
    • 2-Way Radio operators (usually in higher level emergencies)
    • Phone operator Information Office – Office Coordinator
    • Information Systems managers, including Web Director of Information Systems, IS Managers
  • Residence Life Director of Residence Life
  • Directors of Health Center, Counseling Center
  • Facilities operations Director of Facilities Management
    • Skilled crafts
    • Technicians
  • Budget and accounting (emergency purchasing and processing authority)
  • Procurement (selected staff and administrators)
    • Controller
  • Human Resources (selected staff and administrators)
  • Presidents Cabinet members
  • Cabinet Assistants
  • Auxiliary Services

Essential Management – administrative directors and academic department chairs

In addition, depending on the circumstances of the emergency, all essential management (administrative directors and academic department chairs) should be considered essential personnel until a decision is made about which services will be closed. Dismissal of classes does not necessarily mean that the campus shuts down completely and all students leave. Once a determination is made as to what, if any, services are to remain open to students, EM in those areas are responsible for providing appropriate staffing. Thus, services such as the library, financial aid, recreation facilities, and food services may be considered essential if the intention is to keep services open to students even though classes are cancelled. Even in areas that are deemed essential services, EM may allow staff to leave who have personal circumstances that necessitate departure from the workplace, e.g. child care issues.

Levels of closure

There are basically three levels of closure that may require releasing non-essential personnel. The examples below are an attempt to define increasing levels of urgency. In the end, the nature of the emergency will determine what services should continue and who is then essential to the continued operation of the campus. The distinction between the levels described below is blurred by the specifics of the circumstance at hand. The following is offered as a general guideline.

Level I. Classes Dismissed: Non-instructional day, all other services open

Examples: snow day, recognition of a local or national incident

On duty: all staff and administrators
On Call: those notified by supervisors
Release: students and faculty

Level II. Campus Closure: Inability to conduct business

Examples: complete loss of power; response to a local or national incident; President issues directive to release non-essential personnel; or Governor issues state of emergency.

On duty: essential management and essential core, residence hall occupants
On call: those notified by supervisors
Release: all faculty, all off-campus students and all other staff

Level III. Extreme Emergency: Direct threat to health or safety of the campus

Examples: actual incident affecting this campus, such as a plane crash on campus; air or water contaminated; infectious disease with high mortality rate or virulence

Emergency Operations Center is activated. Provisions for emergency pay are activated.

On duty: essential core
On Call: essential management
Release: all other staff and EM, all faculty and students, including evacuation of the residence halls

Responsible Party

Chair of Crisis Management Preparedness Team (CMPT)


As needed


To all essential core and essential management

Approved by Presidents Cabinet
September 14, 2009


List of positions that comprise Essential Management (in addition to those directors that are considered essential core):

• Associate/Assistant Deans
• Director of Adult Degree Completion Program (ADCP)
• Director of Admissions
• Director of Alumni Parent Engagement
• Director of Athletics
• Director of Campus Ministries
• Director of Career Services
• Director of Center for Justice & Peacebuilding (CJP)
• Director of Development
• Director of Financial Aid
• Director of Intensive English Program
• Director of Libraries
• Directors of Multicultural & International Student Services
• Director of Student Programs
• Public information officer
• Registrar
• Graduate Program Chairs
• Undergraduate Department Chairs
• Website editor and strategist

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