Carnegie Mellon University

Temporary Emergency Closing of the University

Policy Title Policy on Temporary Closing of the University

Policy Owner

Office of the President

Responsible Office

Office of the President

Contact Information

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 recently revisesd on August 31, 2017.
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.
Definitions N/A
Forms/Instructions N/A
Related Information CMU Emergency Alert System

Reason for Policy/Purpose

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, 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.

There may be occasions when the university community is served best by suspending normal operations. In that event, only the president (or the president's designated representative) has the authority to close the university and to specify those persons or group of persons who are to refrain from coming to 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 that the university is closed, everyone is expected to be at work as usual. 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, he or she should notify the department office and arrange for either a qualified substitute or a future make-up session.

If the university is open but a staff member is unable to come to work because of severe weather or other emergency, the staff member should notify the supervisor as soon as possible. Staff members will be expected to use Paid Time Off (PTO), consistent with regular operating protocols.

Announcement of Closing

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