University of Iowa Continuity of Operations Plan

Est. December 20, 2001

In keeping with the University of Iowa's overall mission to provide an environment where scholarly and creative endeavors are advanced, it is imperative that the University of Iowa establish guidelines for dealing with critical incidents. These plans should also include instructions for continuing university functions when the normal environment is disrupted or specific operations are taken out of service.


While it is understood that the causes for disruption of normal services and functions can be many and varied, the plan for continuity of services is constructed to address recovery efforts and the decision making process. Consideration was given to the following events in the formation of this plan.

  • Bomb Threat
  • Civil Protest
  • Earthquake
  • Explosion
  • Fire
  • Hazardous Materials Incident
  • Infrastructure Failure
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Severe Winter Weather
  • Tornado
  • Violent Incident
  • Active Shooter
  • Water Damage

The University of Iowa's Continuity of Operations Plan is intended to work in combination with the University of Iowa Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP). Specific instructions for addressing individual incidents listed above are covered in the CIMP.

While plans presently exist to respond to and manage all manner of critical incidents at the administrative level, this addendum will focus solely on how the university will attempt to continue normal operations under adverse conditions.

Procedure: Appendix "A"

In the event that normal functions at the University of Iowa are disrupted regardless of the event, the following actions will commence.

An incident command center shall be established at the U of I Department of Public Safety facility to receive all incoming information related to the incident and to dispatch information and resources to the scene and to UI administration.

The Incident Commander shall remain at the scene to coordinate response and recovery along with various emergency responders as well as appropriate university, city, county, state and federal agencies. The Incident Commander shall be in communication with the Assistant Vice President & Director of Public Safety.

(For complete information related to critical incident response the university community should refer to the University of Iowa Critical Incident Management Plan.)

Critical Incident Management Team

In the event of a crisis incident, the Director of the Department of Public Safety will notify the Vice President for Student Life who will convene the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT). The CIMT is comprised of members from UI administration and selected department heads. The CIMT will be assembled to address the immediate crisis and disband when the crisis has ended and normal operating systems are in place. The CIMT will also direct responsible parties to coordinate resumption of normal operations or modifications of normal functions and activities as needed and aid in determining what internal/external resources are needed in order for the university to continue operating. Depending upon the circumstances, it may not be necessary to convene the entire CIMT.

Critical Incident Management Team membership

The Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) consists of:

Vice President for Student Life:  Provides liaison with the President and Vice Presidents for reporting the status of the recovery operation and issues related to student matters.

Chief of Staff:  Provides assistance to the President.

Assistant Vice President & Director of Public Safety:  Provides the initial response to the majority of campus emergencies. Acts as liaison with the Vice President for Student Life.

Vice President for Legal Affairs & General Counsel:  Provides input to the CIMT on legal matters.

Executive Vice President & Provost:  Provides liaison with the President and Vice Presidents for consultation on institutional instruction and faculty matters.

Vice President for Strategic Communication: Communicates with the news media, public, staff, faculty, and students.  

Vice President for Human Resources:  Provides support for human resources elements of recovery and staff notification through University Relations.

Assistant Vice President & Director of Business Services:  Provides input to the CIMT on University business matters related to the incident.

Chief Risk Officer:  Acts as liaison with insurance carriers and claims adjusters.  Coordinates insurance program with continuity planning programs.

Vice President for Research:  Provides liaison to affected research areas.

Associate Vice President & Director of Facilities Management:  Provides for the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of University buildings, most campus grounds, and all utility systems.

Senior Vice President & University Treasurer:  Communicates with the Board of Regents on response and recovery operations.

Associate Vice President & Chief Information Officer:  Advises on issues related to ITS.

Vice President for Medical Affairs:  Provides liaison to affected medical areas.

In the event that normal functions would be disrupted for an indeterminable length of time, the CIMT would be kept informed and receive updates on university activities (including building, equipment and staffing issues) for purposes of evaluation as regards current operations to determine if further modifications would be needed. Under the direction of the CIMT, appropriate information would be dispensed to the university community as well as the media through the Office of University Relations. The Department of Public Safety which is equipped with a police dispatch center will be responsible for maintaining contact with appropriate outside emergency services agencies including local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Other university departments may maintain direct contact with outside resource agencies/vendors as needed in order to continue operations.

Damage assessment and recovery (general guidelines)

In the event of an incident that results in property damage or disruption of services, the UI Department of Public Safety shall be responsible for securing the incident site and notifying the designated representative of the following departments:

1. Chief Risk Officer, Department of Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention

  • Associate Vice President & Director of Business Services

2. Facilities Management – Associate VP, Facilities Management

  • Director, Building & Landscape Services
  • Director, Utilities & Energy Management
  • Director, Planning, Design and Constructions
  • Director, Business & Financial Services

3. Vice President for Strategic Communication

  • Assistant Director & Director of University News Services

4. Senior Associate Counsel – Office of General Counsel

  • Director Environmental Compliance and Senior Associate Counsel

5. University Housing & Dining – Director of University Housing & Dining

Individuals so notified shall immediately respond, meeting for the purpose of determining the extent of damages, recovery activities, relocation needs, and public information needs that are immediately required.

To the extent that hazardous materials or chemicals are involved, the University Police shall notify Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Environmental Services. All emergency clean-up and recovery activities shall be subject to instructions of the Environmental Health and Safety & Environmental Services in accordance with the requirements of public authorities.

To the extent that damage is minimal and relocation of activities is not required, the appropriate university department shall be responsible for all site clean-up, debris removal, and emergency or minor repairs. In the event that major remodeling or rebuilding is necessary, Facility Management shall be responsible for preparation of plans, specifications or cost estimates for building remodeling, and equipment repair/replacement.

Relocation guidelines

Alternate facilities would be determined based on the occupancy of all university facilities on
inventory at the time of a critical incident, and the availability of office/commercial space within
the local market. Using the criteria of the Continuity of Operations Plan, where possible:

  • Alternate space would be considered first within the impacted college or department
  • Public facilities on campus
  • Other facilities in the campus inventory

Areas that could be used to house large numbers of people on campus include but are
not limited to the following:

  • UI Field House
  • Carver Hawkeye Arena
  • Iowa Memorial Union
  • UI Residence Halls
  • UI Recreation Building
  • Pressbox facility at Kinnick Stadium
  • Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center
  • Karro Hall of Fame
  • Facilities available on the local market.

Records protection and loss reporting guidelines

The University of Iowa has an established Records Management Program

Additionally, university information systems and records would be maintained in accordance with the Information Technology Disaster Plan. This plan outlines procedures for off-site data storage and redundancies. In the event of a critical incident affecting IT systems and record storage, the CIMT would contact ITS administration to activate the Information Technology Disaster Plan.

Preliminary reports regarding the cause of the loss, the extent of damage, and the plans for recovery and relocation shall be provided to the Chief Risk Officer within 24 hours, in accordance with the University Operations Manual, Section V, Chapters 12.9 and 15.6. All losses shall be reported by the Chief Risk Officer (through the Business Manager's Office) to the State Board of Regents Office in accordance with internal University protocols. In addition to property insurance, the University of Iowa has obtained protection against business interruptions to address significant losses in revenue.

Dealing with a disrupted work or academic environment

In those situations that, due to equipment malfunctions, weather, or other crisis situations, work space is uninhabitable because of heat, cold, water, smoke, or other conditions that make the work site unsafe or uninhabitable, supervisors will make a decision relative to continuation of services at that location. If the supervisor, based on consultation with appropriate University officials, his/her knowledge of the term and severity of the condition, and based on a reasonable person standard, decides to vacate the work site he/she shall use the following guidance.

  • If possible, services to students, faculty, staff and the public should be continued at an alternate work location within the college, vice-presidential area, or hospital unit/clinic. Supervisors should identify these alternate work locations in advance and advise faculty and staff of the location and the situations which would require relocation to the alternate work site (i.e., lack of heat, fumes, and threats to safety/security).
  • If space is not available in locations noted above for all or a portion of the affected staff, they should meet at public facilities on campus, i.e. IMU, Library. To the extent possible, normal workflow should be maintained. If computers, phones, and other necessary equipment are not available, staff should engage in planning, evaluation, or training activities, which require staff presence but not operational equipment.
  • If the options listed above are not feasible, the supervisor can authorize staff to work at home (if appropriate) or they may approve an alternate work schedule to make up the time.
  • If none of the above options are feasible, staff may be required to utilize paid leave (vacation) or unpaid leave, during periods of disruption. It is the University's intent to avoid this option if possible.

Supervisors are responsible for monitoring the availability of the original workspace and for notifying staff and faculty when it is appropriate to return to the regular work area. Determinations as regards classes will be made by the academic units in coordination with the Provost's Office.

To the extent possible faculty, staff and students adversely affected by the incident would be encouraged to utilize all or any of the available university services and resources addressing health, safety and overall well being of the entire UI community. These resources would include but not be limited to the following:

  • Student Health Services
  • University Counseling Services
  • UI Employee Assistance Program

Primary decision makers and phone numbers for specific concerns

It is understood that primary decision makers will be in communication with the CIMT and also determine if additional internal and/or external resources will be needed to provide additional assistance. The safety and welfare of the UI community will be given first priority. Secondary issues include:

  • Continuation of utilities
  • Restoration of existing structures or relocation of functions
  • Providing back-up power in the form of stationary or portable generators or other
    alternative power sources
  • Providing alternative communications such as cell phones, two-way radios, ham radios,

Disruption of class instruction

  • Vice President for Student Life: 335-3557
  • Executive Vice President & Provost: 335-3565

Disruption of work activities

  • Vice President of Human Resources: 335-3558
  • Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Administration: 335-0052

Disruption of utilities/infrastructure

  • Associate Vice President and Director of Facilities Management: 335-1248
  • Facilities Management Work Control Center (24 hours) 335-5071

Disruption of telephone/computer functions

  • Associate Vice President & Chief Information Officer: 384-0750

Loss of student living space

  • Director of University Housing & Dining: 335-3000
  • Vice President for Student Life: 335-3557

Mass injuries or death

  • Assistant Vice President & Director of Public Safety: 335-5026
  • UI Police (DPS) Dispatch (24 hours) 335-5022
  • (Affecting students) Vice President for Student Life: 335-3557
  • (Affecting faculty) Executive Vice President & Provost: 335-3565
  • (Affecting staff) Vice President of Human Resources: 335-3558
  • Senior Associate Director of UIHC: 356-2681
  • Associate Professor and Head, Department of Emergency Medicine, UIHC: 353-6360
  • Emergency Treatment Center 356-2233

Maintaining communications with the Board Office

The following will serve as protocol for maintaining communications with the Board of Regents Office in accordance with State law and Regent's policies and procedures.

Alert level assessment

It is essential that the University of Iowa notify the Board of Regents Office in a timely manner as circumstance dictate. In determining when to contact the Board office the following alert level assessment guidelines shall be utilized.

Level I Alert

Indicates that conditions for the campus are normal. Level I status indicates that no information exists or the information received is not likely to have any significant impact on the UI campus. (Board notification at Level I status is unnecessary)

Level II Alert

Indicates that the University of Iowa has received credible information which can or will

significantly impact the campus. (Depending on the incident, communications with the Board

office is optional)

Example #1: The University of Iowa has received information that indicates that we are under a tornado or flood warning. Communications with the Board office would not be necessary unless that information resulted in significant modifications to our operations such as mass relocation of people or equipment. Example #2: The University of Iowa has received credible information of a terrorist threat that could significantly impact the campus. Communications with the Board office would likely be initiated by the U of I even though normal operations are not immediately effected.

Level III Alert

Normal operations at the University of Iowa have been significantly modified due to credible information or an actual event. (Board notification at Level III is necessary)

Guidelines on how to contact the Board Office

1. The Senior Vice President & University Treasurer (or a designee) will be responsible for informing the Board office by contacting the Executive Director at (515) 281-3934 or fax (515) 281-6420. In the event that the Executive Director cannot be reached, contact the Deputy Executive Director utilizing the same telephone number and fax number. Consult the Board office Continuity of Operations Plan for additional numbers.

2. In the rare event that all forms of electronic communications are rendered inoperable, a messenger will be dispatched to the Board office, during normal business hours, to deliver pertinent information.

3. The Senior Vice President & University Treasurer will continue to provide information to the Board office when a change of status occurs or as often as agreed upon by UI administration and the Board office.

4. The Board office will be notified upon resumption of normal operating functions.

Executive delegation of authority

The delegation of authority for the UI executive administration will normally be as follows:

  • President;
  • Executive Vice President & Provost;
  • Senior Vice President & University Treasurer;
  • Vice President for Student Life.

In accordance with the UI Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP), the Critical Incident Management Team would be convened by the Vice President for Student Life following any event triggering activation of the CIMP.

Contacts emergency lines of succession (in order listed)

  • University President (319) 335-3549
  • Executive Vice President & Provost (319) 335-3565
  • Senior Vice President & University Treasurer (319) 335-3552
  • Vice President for Student Life (319) 335-3557
  • Vice President of Research (319) 335-2132

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (in order listed)

  • Director and CEO (319) 356-3155
  • Associate Director, External Relations and Legal Services (319) 356-4009
  • Senior Associate Director & Interim Chief Operations Officer (319) 356-2681

Plan Review and Maintenance

The Assistant Vice President and Director of Public Safety will be responsible for maintaining the Continuity of Operations Plan (COP). The plan will be reviewed on an annual basis for the purpose of verifying accuracy.

Additionally, the plan will be reviewed as appropriate following an event that requires activation of the COP for the purpose of assessing viability of the plan.