Policy Number: 105

Policy Suffix:

I. General Policy

The university uses an “all-hazards” approach to emergency management to mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from an emergency situation. The university’s response to an emergency involves members of the university’s Crisis Management Team (CMT) and other essential employees at the university, as necessary or appropriate.

III. Definitions

All-hazards – an approach that considers the full range of threats, man-made and natural, accidental and premeditated disasters and other emergencies.

IV. Elaboration of Policy

1. Guidance

In managing emergencies, the university is guided by three criteria to aid in the assessment of response and recovery for all areas of the university. The criteria, in priority order, are:

  1. Life safety
  2. Preservation of research and key assets
  3. Resumption of research and teaching

2. Authority

The chair of the CMT, who is ordinarily the Vice President for Finance and Administration, or his or her designee, has been delegated by the president the authority to declare the existence of an emergency in all or part of the university. This authority includes convening the CMT to review and implement an appropriate emergency response, and when deemed necessary, the closure of part or all of the university.

Other offices at the university, such as Environmental Health and Safety and the Rice University Police Department, may take immediate action in a situation to protect members of the university community or university property prior to an emergency declaration by the chair of the CMT.

When the CMT communicates a response to an emergency, that emergency response is to be considered the primary response governing the actions of any school, division or department, in order to avoid conflicting responses or directives. All responses at these levels are subordinate and complementary to the university’s overall emergency response.

The Office of Public Affairs will coordinate and issue all public and news announcements regarding any emergency situation. The official spokesperson for the university will be the vice president for public affairs or his or her designee.

3. Organization

The CMT is comprised of decision-making representatives from key functions across the university. The chair of the CMT, or his or her designee, may convene all or part of the CMT to manage a specific emergency event. The CMT meets on a quarterly basis and may be convened more often as needed.

4. Planning

The responsibility for developing and implementing individual school, college, division and department planning rests with the organization head. All managers are responsible for reviewing their plans and procedures regularly and for determining which staff are considered "essential employees" during an emergency. The school, college, division or department with such action plans should communicate to its employees their respective roles, responsibilities and expectations should an emergency arise triggering the response plan.

V. Cross References to Related Policies

313. Laboratory Safety
805. Safety Policy

VI. Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation

Responsible Official: Vice President for Finance and Administration

Key Office: Crisis Management

VIII. Links to Additional Information

Rice Crisis Management


David W. Leebron, President

Policy History


November 1, 1996


September 3, 2002

Clerical Changes

September 30, 2022

January 18, 2023

January 20, 2023