Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 50: Safety and Security

WSU Pullman Suspended Operations

BPPM 50.41

For more information contact:
   Office of Emergency Management


There are emergencies that may require the University to suspend some or all operations at the Pullman campus. (See also BPPM 50.40 for University-wide procedures regarding suspended operations.)

 This section provides procedures regarding evaluation of and response to emergencies that may affect WSU Pullman. See the following BPPM sections for procedures for other WSU locations:

Moving Normal Operations to Suspended Operations

At the WSU Pullman campus, the Chancellor or designee may move the campus from normal operations to suspended operations when an emergency is imminent or active.

When WSU Pullman moves from normal to suspended operations, the presumption is that the University returns to normal operations the following day unless the Chancellor or designee communicates otherwise.

Students and employees should check WSU Alerts for the current status of suspended operations.

WSU Pullman Condition Triage Team

The WSU Pullman Condition Triage Team is responsible for providing pertinent information about the emergency to the triage team representative, the Associate Vice President for Public Safety, or their designee.

The following areas and applicable emergency specialists are represented on the triage team:

  • Facilities Services
  • Emergency Management
  • Transportation Services
  • Student Affairs
  • WSU Pullman Chancellor’s Office (ex-officio)
  • Other applicable emergency response resources as needed. (See Status of Emergency Conditions.)

Status of Emergency Conditions

If the Condition Triage Team recommends a change in operations (e.g., closure or delay) the WSU Pullman Chancellor’s Office calls a meeting of the Emergency Operations Advisory Group via Zoom or conference call.

Membership of the Emergency Operations Advisory Group includes:

  • Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer (or designee)
  • Associate Vice President for Public Safety (or designee)
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (or designee)
  • Provost’s Office representative
  • Ex-officio members:
    • WSU Pullman Chancellor’s Office representative
    • Vice President for Marketing and Communications (or designee)

Personnel Notified

The recommendation of the Emergency Operations Advisory Group is then shared with the WSU Pullman Chancellor by the WSU Pullman Chancellor Office representative. The Chancellor then determines if WSU Pullman moves to suspended operations.

Following the WSU Pullman Chancellor’s decision, the WSU Pullman Chancellor’s Office representative notifies the following of the decision, the reason behind the decision, and course of action to be taken:

  • Emergency Operations Advisory Group
  • Office of Emergency Management
  • WSU Marketing and Communications
  • Campus Chiefs of Staff
  • WSU System President’s Office

Public Notification

WSU Marketing and Communications manages all other internal and external communications, including emergency communications deemed appropriate under the circumstances.

This includes the use of the WSU CougAlert System (see BPPM 50.40)

College/Department/Unit Responsibilities

All colleges, divisions, departments, and other operating units must develop Emergency Response Plans and Continuance of Operations Plans, in accordance with Executive Policy EP25 and BPPM 50.39. In addition to other Emergency Response and Continuity of Operations responsibilities, the purpose of these plans is to:

  • Prepare for emergencies;
  • Ensure that administrators, faculty, staff, and students are informed of the suspended operations or closure of offices  within the area;
  • Ensure that administrators, faculty, staff, and students are informed of the postponement of special events or activities; and
  • Reinforce the communication of any decisions reached by the Chancellor (or designee).

WSU Pullman deans and vice presidents are to exercise discretion in determining essential services and minimal staffing levels in accordance with BPPM 60.40 and applicable leave policies. Additional guidelines related to suspended operations are available from the Human Resource Services (HRS) Suspended Operations website.


The procedures above are not intended to cover all possible eventualities. The University administration assumes that the decision-making and relevant communications are adapted, as appropriate, to suit the circumstances. The University administration does not assume that all individuals who may be coming to campus or on campus can be notified of an emergency.

Types of Emergencies

Various types of emergencies may occur at WSU Pullman that could require differing responses and affect different units on campus.

Campus Conditions

The designated department personnel and triage team, based on University impact, presents University leadership with relevant information and updates regarding campus conditions, public safety, and applicable health impacts after an emergency.

Decision Timeline

As soon as possible before or during an emergency, University leadership make decisions about the operational status of the campus and related facilities. In the case of imminent danger to people and/or buildings (i.e., fire or active shooter), decisions are made after the affected area is secure and the scene is stable.

Applicable Suspended Operations Resources

The table below lists possible emergencies that may occur on the WSU Pullman campus. Responsible department(s) and/or personnel that work with the triage team and keep University leadership abreast of the situation are identified in the table, along with other resources that may assist the triage team as needed.

Emergency Responsible Dept. Other Resources
Inclement Weather See Inclement Weather Procedures
Active Shooter WSU Police WSU Public Safety, Human Resource Svcs., and Cougar Health Ctr. Counseling and Psychological Svcs.
Bomb Threat/Explosive Device WSU Police WSU Public Safety, Facilities, and local law enforcement agencies
Fire WSU Fire Dept. WSU Facilities, Police, EH&S, Risk Mgmt. Svcs., and local fire depts.
Wildfire Smoke Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) WSU Facilities and Cougar Health Svcs. (CHS)
Hazardous Materials – Biological/Radioactive Releases Office of Research Assurances (ORA) WSU Facilities, EH&S, CHS, Public Safety, and local response agencies
Hazardous Materials – Chemical Releases EH&S WSU Facilities, ORA, CHS, Public Safety, and local response agencies
Nuclear Reactor Event Nuclear Science Center WSU Public Safety and local response agencies
Public Health Communicable Disease CHS Local response agencies
Utility Facilities Services EH&S, ORA, CHS, Public Safety, and local response agencies

Inclement Weather Emergency

Campus Conditions

Designated personnel consult with professional weather information services and collect relevant information regarding campus conditions. The Associate Vice President for Public Safety (or designee) provides the WSU Pullman Chancellor’s office with regular updates on campus conditions throughout the weather emergency.

Decision Timeline

While a weather emergency may be declared at any time if conditions necessitate it, the following are the most likely weather scenarios with target timelines for reaching decisions.

During Night or Early Morning Hours

If the inclement weather occurs during the night or early morning hours, the triage team reports pertinent information on the inclement weather event no later than 4:45 a.m. Such a report initiates the inclement weather procedures listed above.

If there is advance warning of a potential weather event, the Associate Vice President for Public Safety (or designee) notifies the triage team the previous evening to be on standby for a 4:45 a.m. call the following morning.

Evening Classes and Operations

If an inclement weather event is expected to affect evening classes and operations, a decision should be reached no later than 4:00 p.m. to allow time to provide appropriate notice.

Revisions:  May 2022 (Rev. 594); May 2014 – new policy (Rev. 431).