Carnegie Mellon University

Temporary Emergency Closing of the University

POLICY TITLE: Policy on Temporary Closing of the University


Office of the President


Office of the President


Questions on Policy content should be directed to the Office of the President, 412-268-2200.

PERTINENT DATES: This policy was issued on October 24, 1994, and was revised on August 5, 2022.
APPROVED BY: Issued as an Organizational Announcement
ENTITIES AFFECTED BY THIS POLICY: All units of the university
WHO NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS POLICY: All faculty, staff, students and guests


To document the procedures for temporarily closing the university due to an emergency.


Only the president (or the president's designated representative) has the authority to close the university and to specify those persons free to leave or refrain from coming to campus.

Policy Statement

Carnegie Mellon University has an important commitment to students, employees, parents, sponsors, benefactors and the community. Accordingly, the university will make every attempt to operate normally during severe weather or other emergencies. This includes holding classes, conducting research programs, and operating facilities and services. The university will attempt to operate normally unless such operation represents a clear threat to the health and safety of students, staff, faculty and visitors.

In the event of severe weather or other emergencies, the Emergency Preparedness and Response Team will assess the situation and provide recommendations to university leadership as to whether the university can continue normal operations, if normal operations including in-person classes, meetings, events and student activities should be conducted remotely, or if normal operations should be suspended. In the event it is decided that all normal operations on campus need to be conducted remotely or suspended, only the president (or the president's designated representative) has the authority to modify operations and/or close the university and to specify those persons or group of persons who are to refrain from coming to the Pittsburgh campus and/or who are free to leave work or class early. Staff members who provide essential services, such as certain members of Campus Operations (including Emergency Management, Facilities Management and Campus Services, Computing Services and University Police) and Student Affairs (including Dining Services, Housing Services, etc.) may be required to work.

Standard Operations

Unless the president announces the university is closed or government authorities require a closure, CMU faculty and staff are expected to carry out their work responsibilities. When the university is in session, faculty members are expected to meet their scheduled classes and other obligations. If a faculty member is unable to meet a scheduled class, they should notify their department head or supervisor and arrange for either a qualified substitute or some other manner to make up the course session and/or coverage of the necessary course material.

If the university is open but an essential staff member is unable to come to campus because of severe weather or other emergency, they should notify their supervisor as soon as possible to make alternative work arrangements.

Announcement of Closing

As soon as the president or the designee determines that university operations must be modified or closed due to an emergency, announcements will be issued via Carnegie Mellon email and the university’s emergency alert system, as well as posted to the CMU homepage and the CMU Alert website. Media Relations staff may also inform local media organizations.