The President’s Cabinet in December adopted a policy that requires employees to promptly notify the university if they are charged with, or convicted of, a serious crime.
The Cabinet also approved a protocol for activating the university’s new emergency notification system.
Employees who are charged with any crime other than a minor traffic offense must report the charge to the Office of Legal Affairs within 72 hours of learning of the charge. Employees who are convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic offense must report the conviction to the legal affairs office within 24 hours. Failure to report either a charge or a conviction can result in disciplinary action including termination of employment.
In both cases, the legal affairs office will review the facts and circumstances of the crime and determine if any action should be taken regarding the employee’s status.
The office will keep the employee’s supervisor informed about the investigation and will advise the supervisor on making a decision about the employee’s status.
Tim Burgess, senior vice president for finance and administration, said the policy—which also covers student workers—is required by the University System Board of Regents. Burgess said the point of the policy is to ensure that the university knows about a criminal charge or conviction, not necessarily to punish the employee.
“There could be greater implications for not reporting than for the offense itself,” Burgess said.
Additionally, the emergency notification system, called UGAAlert, became operational last fall. About 44,000 students, faculty and staff are in the system, which automatically sends messages about emergency situations via telephone, e-mail and text messaging.
Under the protocol, the system only will be activated under two conditions: when there is a severe threat to public safety and health of the entire campus that has not been contained or controlled, and when those receiving the warning are required to take immediate action.
Examples of when the system would be used are a tornado warning, a chemical spill that threatens public health or an active shooter. If the system is activated, more information about the emergency will be posted to the UGA home page (www.uga.edu).
The system will not be used for non-emergency situations such as traffic lane closures, inclement weather closures, localized building emergencies or rumor control. It also will not be used where a threat does not exist or in situations where notification is merely a convenience. ArchNews will continue to be the primary tool for disseminating non-urgent messages.
The UGAAlert system can be authorized and activated only by the president, a senior vice president, the university police chief or acting police chief or the director of acting director of the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness.
The system will be tested twice yearly–during the severe weather drill in February and around the start of fall semester.
The protocol applies only to UGA’s main Athens campus. Separate protocols are being developed for the extended campuses in Griffin, Tifton and Gwinnett County.