The University of Memphis

Emergency Closings


Issued: January 28, 2016
Responsible Official: Vice President for Business & Finance
Responsible Office: Crisis Management

Policy Statement

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the University to remain open to ensure continuity of service to students, faculty, staff and the public. However, during inclement weather or other emergency conditions (e.g. natural disasters, major utility failure, or other reasons), the safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors will remain the primary consideration.

The President of the University or their designee may cancel classes and/or close offices at the University due to inclement weather or other emergencies. 



To establish the protocol, authorities and process for university closures when conditions are deemed unsafe.



Campus refers to Main Campus (including Campus School and Lipman School), Lambuth Campus, Park Avenue Campus, Millington Center, Collierville Center, Meeman Biological Center, Chucalissa Museum and Indian Village, and the Downtown Law School and any other property owned or controlled by the University.


University classes are suspended, non emergency crucial offices are closed, and activities scheduled to take place on campus are cancelled or deferred.

Emergency Crucial Offices

Those offices whose duties and responsibilities are crucial to ensuring life safety services and/or critical operations of the University during an emergency.

Emergency Crucial Positions

Those positions whose duties and responsibilities are crucial to ensuring life safety services and/or critical operations of the University during an emergency.

Special Information Telephone Line

901-678-0888; provides information on the current operational status of the University of Memphis.


Closing Options

Closing options are predefined to facilitate decision making, information sharing and to minimize disruption. The options include:

  • Closed all day.
  • Delayed opening -- University operations will begin at a designated time; classes that begin prior to that time will not meet.
  • Early closing – University operations will be closed at some point during the day; classes that begin after closing will not meet.
  • Cancellation of evening activities – University operations will cease at a designated time; activities that begin at or after that time will not meet.
  • Cancellation of off-campus classes and activities at a specific site – University operations located at a specified off campus site will cease.
  • Localized and Temporary Closing – Close a building or location because conditions may make learning and working inadvisable for a limited period of time. 

These options are offered as a guide only; the President is not bound to choose from among them.

The cancellation of off-campus classes only may become necessary when the host institution closes or alters its schedule and the University of Memphis does not. In these cases, the University will adhere to the closing decision made by the host institution, with exceptions made by the Vice Provost for Extended Programs.


If the President or designee alters the schedule or opts to close the campus, s/he will notify the University's Vice President for External Relations and Executive Director of Alumni Association or designee.

The Vice President for External Relations and Executive Director of Alumni Association or designee will issue information related to campus closure and subsequent reopening to the campus community and the public using some or all of the following means, depending on circumstances: 

  • University of Memphis special information line: 901-678-0888
  • University of Memphis main web page (
  • The local broadcast news media 
  • WUMR (FM 91.7)
  • Campus email system
  • Campus TigerText system
  • Outdoor Warning System 
  • Alertus network notification system  

The Office of the President or designee will notify the Provost, each Vice President and Athletic Director, who will in turn notify their department/unit heads. Each division and department is responsible for developing, maintaining and initiating an internal communication mechanism (e.g., phone trees) for notifying faculty and staff within their areas.

Upon notification of a closing, non-university employers who are operating on University property and University employees, except those who occupy positions identified as “Emergency Crucial,” will be directed to (a) leave campus if they are already present, (b) not report to campus, or (c) shelter in place. Persons other than Emergency Crucial Employees who enter campus during a period of closing do so at their own risk.

Emergency Crucial Positions

Certain positions are considered crucial to the operation of the University even when the University is closed.  Each department/unit head shall identify Emergency Crucial positions in the Business Continuity Plan for the department. These plans shall be reviewed and updated annually, and employees in those positions are to be informed of their designation by their department/unit head.

The employees in Emergency Crucial positions are to be available to report to work during inclement weather or other emergency, if required.

Compensation during Closings

Emergency Crucial non-exempt employees will be paid as follows:

  • Regular pay for the number of hours they would have worked, plus
  • Additional pay for the number of hours worked as an Emergency Crucial employee.  These hours should be reported as straight time overtime, except that the number of hours actually worked over forty (40) during a work week should be reported as premium overtime.

Emergency Crucial exempt employees will receive regular pay for working on the crucial day.  Earned time off will not be credited to the annual leave balance; it should be separately monitored by the department head.  This time is not payable as terminal leave and should be taken within the fiscal year it is granted.  When the University is closed, non-emergency crucial employees will normally receive regular pay for the number of hours they would have worked.  These hours should be reported as “Inclement Weather.”  The University will not charge annual leave balances for these paid hours.

Employees who had scheduled leave before the decision to close was announced should report Sick Leave or Annual Leave, as appropriate.  If an employee chooses to leave work before the official closing time, the employee must report Annual Leave (or Leave Without Pay, if no annual leave) for the period between leaving work and the official closing time.

Personal Safety

During inclement weather or other emergency, students and employees are urged to exercise discretion and sound judgment regarding travel since safe transportation to and from the campus depends on many factors, such as distance and road conditions. When the University is open, supervisors should instruct employees to use their own judgment in deciding whether they can get to and from work safely during inclement weather or other emergency. In these cases, employees may take annual leave during the time missed. If an employee does not have accrued annual leave, leave without pay should be reported.

States of Emergency

States of emergency may be declared by the President of the University of Memphis, head officials of the City of Memphis, Shelby County, or the State of Tennessee. A state of emergency is operationalized by accompanying executive orders that declare a curfew, prohibit travel, control traffic, designate areas as emergency shelters, and close public places of assembly. States of emergency do not mean that roads are closed, unless so stated. Even if roads are closed, emergency crucial employees should report, but only if they are able to travel safely between home and work.


University's Crisis Management Plan

Revision Dates

 UM1531 -- Revised January 28, 2016
UM1531 - January 28, 2016
UM1531 - Issued: January 4, 2011 supercedes policy number 1:2A:16:01

Subject Areas:

AcademicFinanceGeneralHuman ResourcesInformation TechnologyResearchStudent Affairs