UCCS faces few problems during December storms

January 11, 2007

By Ron Fitz

Silver & Gold Record reporter

Blizzard or near-blizzard conditions in Colorado Springs during the recent semester break resulted in the campus being closed for a total of 29.5 business hours. In addition, a UCCS leave policy for use during emergency closures had to be established and then revised to apply to more employees. But on the whole, disruptions were minimal at UCCS.

Citing “deteriorating weather conditions,” Brian Burnett, vice chancellor for administration and finance, sent out an e-mail message announcing the campus closure early on Dec. 20. The following day, UCCS was closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but reopened on Dec. 22. The next week brought another storm, and on Dec. 28 UCCS closed at 2 p.m. and remained closed on Dec. 29.

According to university relations Director Tom Hutton, the reduced number of students on campus reduced the weather’s impact. Fewer people meant fewer problems, he said, adding that many UCCS employees take time off during semester breaks. Finals at UCCS ended on Dec. 16, and residence halls had already closed before the snowstorm.

More than a dozen individual classes were scheduled at UCCS for the “Winterim” session, held from Dec. 27 into the first weeks of January. The snowstorm forced some rescheduling of those class periods, but no other problems, according to Registrar Steve Ellis.

The residence life and housing office offered rooms to campus and contract employees and vendors who were stranded by the storm, but no employees took advantage of the offer, according to the housing office.

On Jan. 3, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak sent out an e-mail message explaining campus policy regarding the use of administrative leave during a campus closure. She said that after consultation with campus administrators, she was implementing procedures for classified and exempt-professional staff regarding leave that will apply to all closures after Dec. 15, 2006. She said the policy would not apply to student or temporary employees. On Jan. 5, the memorandum was re-issued, with revisions to include 12-month faculty. According to the memo, administrative leave will be granted to all employees who were scheduled to work on full-closure days and to those employees who reported to work on partial-closure days. On a full-closure day, employees already on approved annual, sick or other type of leave will be granted a day of administrative leave; on partial-closure days, employees out on approved leave will not be granted administrative leave.