Missouri State University

University Policies

This chapter provides summaries of key policies with links to the complete policies where applicable.

2.1 Nondiscrimination policy statement

Missouri State University is a community of people with respect for diversity. The University emphasizes the dignity and equality common to all persons and adheres to a strict nondiscrimination policy regarding the treatment of individual faculty, staff, and students. In accord with federal law and applicable Missouri statutes, the University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, or veteran status in employment or in any program or activity offered or sponsored by the University. Sex discrimination encompasses sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence, and is strictly prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In addition, the University does not discriminate on any basis (including, but not limited to, political affiliation and sexual orientation) not related to the applicable educational requirements for students or the applicable job requirements for employees.

This policy shall not be interpreted in a manner as to violate the legal rights of religious organizations or of military organizations associated with the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

The University maintains a grievance procedure incorporating due process available to any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against. Missouri State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Minority/Female/Veterans/Disability employer. Inquiries concerning the grievance procedure, Affirmative Action Plan, or compliance with federal and state laws and guidelines should be addressed to the Equal Opportunity Officer/Title IX Coordinator, Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance, Park Central Office Building, Suite 111, Springfield, Missouri 65897, equity@missouristate.edu, 417-836-4252, or to the Office for Civil Rights. (Res. Board Policies No. 70-11; Bd. Min. 10-28-11.)

2.2 Prohibition of discrimination and sexual harassment

The complete Prohibition of Discrimination and Harassment Policy can be found on the Institutional Equity and Compliance website.  While all forms of discrimination and harassment degrade the quality of work and diminish the academic mission, sexual harassment because of its nature, has received special attention in the courts. Further, because of the unique relationship between student and faculty member or supervisor and subordinate, and the inequities in power, sexual harassment is especially troublesome in the academic environment. Sexual harassment not only violates the law and University policy but also can damage personal and professional relationships, cause career or economic disadvantage, expose the University to legal liabilities, a loss of federal research funds, and other financial consequences.

The best way to prevent sexual harassment is through awareness and education. This policy is aimed at increasing awareness regarding sexual harassment by making available information, education, and guidance on the subject. The following definition of sexual harassment is included in this policy.

  1. Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome written, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
    • submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's education, employment, or participation in University program or activity;
    • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting that individual's academic standing, employment status or participation in a University program or activity; or
    • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for that individual's employment, education, or participation in a University program or activity. (This third situation is commonly known as hostile environment sexual harassment.)
  2. Sexual harassment may occur between members of the same or opposite sex (i.e., male to female, female to male, male to male, female to female), may occur between persons of the same or different University status (i.e., student to student, faculty to faculty, staff to faculty, faculty to student). Groups of individuals may also be found to engage in sexual harassment.
  3. Harassment based on a person's sex is not limited to instances involving sexual behavior. The courts have recognized both sexual harassment based on sexual advances or overtones, as well as sex or gender discrimination because of a person's sex (i.e., being denied equal treatment because a person is a female or male, being treated differently because of gender stereotypes).
  4. A person does not have to be the direct and immediate target of sexual harassment to complain about it. Harassing behavior toward others may be so offensive, demeaning or disruptive as to constitute a hostile work or academic environment, though not specifically directed at the observer or individual lodging the complaint.
  5. Conduct alleged to constitute sexual harassment will be evaluated according to the objective standard of a reasonable person of the same sex as the victim.
  6. Except in the case of relationships between employees and students enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision, consensual sexual or romantic relationships do not automatically violate this policy.   However, because of the nature of the relationship and inequities of power, the apparent consensual nature of the relationship is inherently suspect of abuse of power.

Any member of the University community who believes that he or she has been the subject of sexual harassment should report the alleged act immediately to his or her supervisor or the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance. The University will respond to instances of harassment in accordance with the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance Complaint Procedures and will respond appropriately to those who violate this policy, up to and including termination of employment.

2.2.1 Discrimination and harassment training policy

To create a positive learning, working and living environment, the University must provide an atmosphere free of discrimination and harassment. The most effective way to prevent discrimination and harassment is through awareness and education. There are at least four goals to be achieved through education: (a) ensuring that all alleged victims (and potential victims) are aware of their rights; (b) notifying individuals of conduct that is proscribed; (c) informing administrators about the proper way to address complaints of violations of this policy; and (d) helping educate the community about the problems this Policy addresses.

To achieve these goals, Missouri State University Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance has developed a training program to inform, educate and guide members of the University community on sexual harassment and discrimination. The training program addresses the prevention of sexual harassment, prevention of employment discrimination, and working with disabilities. All employees must attend the mandatory training program sponsored by the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance every three years. New employees must complete the online Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance training program within 30 calendar days from their start date. Newly promoted supervisory employees must complete the online Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance training program supervisor section on preventing discrimination and working with disabilities 30 calendar days from the start date of their promotion.

2.2.2 Reporting discrimination and harassment policy

Any member of the Missouri State University community who has been subject to discrimination or harassment or who has witnessed discrimination or harassment, on any basis not related to the educational requirements for students or the applicable job requirements for employees, is encouraged to report it immediately to the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance. A person does not have to be the direct target of the discrimination or harassment to report it. The University is committed to handling complaints and reports of discrimination and harassment swiftly, fairly, and with sensitivity.

The method for reporting harassment is outlined in the Missouri State University Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance Complaint Procedures. The complete policy may be obtained online at: http://www.missouristate.edu/equity/.

2.2.3 Guidelines for responding to and reporting child abuse/neglect or victims of violence or harassment

In acknowledging its responsibility for promoting a positive learning environment and understanding that there may be occasions when staff receive information regarding possible child abuse or neglect or acts of violence or harassment to another person, the University has developed guidelines for responding to such incidents. These guidelines provide that some employees, including teachers at Greenwood Laboratory School, nurses, day care workers, or those who have care and custody of a minor child are "mandated" reporters under Missouri statutes (R.S.Mo 210.109-210.166) with regard to child abuse or neglect. Specific information regarding these guidelines can be obtained by contacting the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance, Park Central Office Building, Suite 111, 901 South National, Springfield, Missouri 65897, 417-836-4252, http://www.missouristate.edu/equity/.

2.2.4 Consensual sexual or romantic relationships

In general – There are special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individual in inherently unequal positions, and parties in such a relationship assume those risks. In the University context, such positions include (but are not limited to) supervisor and employee, senior faculty and junior faculty, mentor and trainee, professor and student. Because of the potential for conflict of interest, exploitation, favoritism, and bias, such relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided. Such relationships may be less consensual than the individual whose position confers power or authority believes. The relationship is likely perceived in different ways by each of the parties to it, especially in retrospect.

Moreover, such relationships may harm or injure others in the academic or work environment. Relations in which one party is in a position to review the work or influence the career of the other may provide grounds for complaints by third parties when that relationship gives undue access or advantage, restrict opportunities, or creates a perception of these problems. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic involvement, this past consent does not remove grounds for a charge based upon subsequent unwelcome conduct.

Where such a relationship exists, the person in the position of greater authority or power will bear the primary burden of accountability, and must ensure that he or she – and this is particularly important for faculty members – does not exercise any supervisory or evaluation function over the other person in the relationship. Where such recusal is required, the recusing party must also notify his or her supervisor, department head, or dean, so that such head, dean or supervisor can exercise his or her responsibility to evaluate the adequacy of the alternative supervisory evaluative arrangements to be put in place. Staff members, may instead, as an option, notify the Office of Human Resources. To reiterate, the responsibility for recusal and notification rests with the person in the position of greater authority or power. Failure to comply with these recusal and notification requirements is a violation of this policy, and therefore grounds for discipline.

With students – The University will view it as unethical and a violation of this policy if University employees engage in sexual or romantic relationships with students enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision. Such employee-student relationships may include, but are not limited to, faculty and student, advisor and advisee, teaching assistant and student, coach and athlete, and the individuals who supervise the day-to-day student living environment of student residents. The behavior is, in most cases, unethical even when the relationship is consensual (i.e., both parties have consented), because the voluntary consent of the student is in doubt, given the power imbalance in the student-employee relationship. Even if consent were to be shown, a clear conflict of interest would still exist which might create the appearance of discrimination or favoritism in grading or access to educational opportunities.

Relationships between a graduate student and an undergraduate student, when the graduate student has some supervisory responsibility for the undergraduate student, are covered by this policy.

2.3 Disability and reasonable accommodation

Missouri State University is committed to providing an accessible and supportive environment for employees with disabilities. Equal access for qualified employees with a disability is an obligation of the University under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Missouri State University does not discriminate on the basis of disability against otherwise-qualified individuals in any program, service or activity offered by the University.  The University is committed to ensuring that no otherwise-qualified individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids or other appropriate services; however, accommodations cannot result in an undue burden to the University or fundamentally alter the essential functions of the job.

The complete Disability Accommodations Policy can be found on the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance website.  An employee needing to request a reasonable accommodation for a disability should contact the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance, Park Central Office Building, Suite 111, telephone 417-836-4252. Employees of the West Plains campus should contact the Affirmative Action Liaison, University/Community Programs Office, West Plains Civic Center at 417-255-7966.

2.4 Drug-free workplace

Employees are expected and required to report to work on time and in appropriate mental and physical condition for work. Each employee is responsible to help ensure a drug-free, healthful, safe and secure work environment. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance on University premises or while conducting University business off premises is absolutely prohibited. Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, and may have legal consequences. Employees must, as a condition of employment, abide by the terms of this policy and report to the University any conviction under a criminal drug statute for violations occurring on or off University premises while conducting University business. A report of a conviction must be made to the Office of Human Resources within five days after the conviction.

2.5 Alcohol/drug abuse policy

It is the policy of Missouri State University to prohibit the unlawful possession, purchase, manufacture, use, sale or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by employees on University property or as part of any of its activities. The University has the right to require an employee to undergo alcohol and/or drug testing when there is a reasonable suspicion that the employee might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If an employee is found in violation of University policy, federal or state laws, or local ordinances, the circumstances accompanying each individual case will be considered when determining the consequences. Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, and may have legal consequences. The University does not condone the abuse of alcohol and drugs; it does, however, recognize that employees with alcohol or drug-related problems should be encouraged to seek help in dealing with such problems. Employees are encouraged to use the University's counseling services, campus-related self-help groups (Adult Children of Alcoholics, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous) and health insurance plans, as appropriate, when facing alcohol or drug-related problems.

2.6 Tobacco use policy

The University recognizes that tobacco smoke is a hazard to the health of the University community. Because of the harmful consequences of tobacco use, both active and passive, the University has adopted the following policies:

  • The University designates all buildings as smoke-free. Therefore, smoking is prohibited in University buildings including offices and hallways, and in the outside areas surrounding fresh air intakes. This policy applies to all University buildings on and off campus.
  • Smoking at outdoor events (specifically including those in the stadium) is restricted to designated areas.
  • Smoking is prohibited in vehicles leased or owned by the University.
  • The use of smokeless tobacco is prohibited in all locations on campus, where smoking is prohibited.
  • Visitors to Missouri State University are included under this policy as temporary members of the University community.

To the extent possible, the University will provide access to cessation programs to help those who presently use tobacco products and desire to quit. Taylor Health and Wellness Center offers smoking cessation programs. The success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers. The University community shares in the responsibility for adhering to and enforcing this policy.  The complete Tobacco Use Policy can be found on the Safety and Transportation website.

2.7 Solicitation policy

As used in this handbook, solicitation means the attempted sale, lease, rental, or offer for sale, lease, or rental of any property, product, merchandise, publication, or service, whether for immediate or future delivery; the oral, written, or electronic appeal or request to support or join an organization other than a registered student, faculty, or staff organization; the receipt of or request for any gift or contribution; or the distribution of information in support of these activities.

Only registered student organizations, university organizations, and university departments may solicit on campus. All sales persons or agents for any product or proposition or cause whatsoever are prohibited from soliciting members of the faculty, staff, or the student body in any building or on any part of the campus of Missouri State University, or by any electronic means, except as provided herein. Door-to-door solicitation in University residence halls, academic, or administrative buildings is strictly prohibited. Space for sales and solicitation must be reserved through the Event and Meeting Services Office, 417-836-5653. Unless otherwise noted in this policy, such activities are facilitated in designated locations in, or directly outside of, the Plaster Student Union. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Director of Plaster Student Union. Events otherwise approved according to the University's policies that commonly sell merchandise may be permitted to do so if approved according to the contract or other arrangement for the event. During working hours, University employees are not to engage in such activities as unauthorized pools, collections, sales of tickets or merchandise, political campaigning or passing of handbills. Registered student organizations, University organizations, and University departments who want to conduct solicitation activities on campus must comply with the procedures outlined in the Solicitation Policy. A complete copy of the University's Solicitation Policy is available from the Office of Student Engagement or at the following web address: http://www.missouristate.edu/policy/op1_01_advertisingdistributionsolicitation.htm. The solicitation policy for the West Plains campus is located at http://wp.missouristate.edu/StudentLife/Policies.htm.

2.8 Advertising and distribution policy

Missouri State University recognizes the importance of campus advertising of sanctioned events and activities in fostering an active and involved University community. At the same time, the University recognizes that an attractive and well maintained physical campus environment is essential to the overall advancement of the University. Therefore, it is necessary that printed posters, signs, notices, and other materials disseminated on campus be posted in a manner that does not detract from the physical appearance of the campus or result in damage to building surfaces. Advertising (and publicity) shall be defined as any method or device for disseminating commercial information/promotional materials on the campus of Missouri State University. The University retains the exclusive right for promotion of University activities through advertisement and endorsement by commercial enterprises and products. Advertisement on campus or in University publications and activity programs does not imply official endorsement by Missouri State University. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs/Director of Plaster Student Union. A complete copy of the University's policy on advertising and distribution is available from the Office of Student Engagement or it can be reviewed at the following web address:  http://www.missouristate.edu/policy/op1_01_advertisingdistributionsolicitation.htm. The advertising policy for the West Plains campus is located at:  http://wp.missouristate.edu/StudentLife/Policies.htm.

2.9 Outside activities and other employment

Employees are expected to be able to perform their work as efficiently and effectively as possible at all times. While work other than for the University is not prohibited, hours worked in outside employment must not coincide or conflict with hours of work for the University. Outside employment and activities must not detract from work responsibilities at the University nor create a conflict of interest. Questions about whether an outside activity or other employment would constitute a conflict of interest should be directed to supervisors.

2.9.1 Extra compensation for externally sponsored projects

Exempt employees (See Section 4.4.2 in this handbook for the definition of exempt employees) are expected to perform their regular duties and responsibilities as assigned by the University without regard to work hour limitations. Compensation for exempt employees above and beyond their annual base salary is not permitted for performance of the regular duties and responsibilities assigned by the University. In certain cases, however, compensation in excess of an exempt employee's annual base salary is permitted for activities performed under externally sponsored projects and other internally funded activities. Externally funded projects are defined as those for which the University administers funds under a contract, grant or other agreement from a federal, state or local government agency, not-for-profit entity, or business. Exempt employees who anticipate participating in an externally funded project should contact the office of research administration for the complete policy on extra compensation for externally sponsored projects.

2.10 Conflict of interest

A Conflict of Interest Policy has been adopted by the University's Board of Governors. This policy sets forth provisions to assist Governors, officers, faculty and employees in avoiding improper outside influences on institutionally related decisions and activities, or using their position or property of the University for their personal, financial, or political gain. The general policy specifically addresses outside interests and compensation; use and disclosure of confidential information; financial and political gain; selling, renting, leasing of property; faculty consultation activity; contracting procedures; and prohibited services after termination of office or employment.

An employee must disclose to his or her supervisor all relevant facts related to activities which might involve a conflict of interest. A copy of the complete Conflict of Interest Policy is available upon request from the Department Head or the Office of Human Resources. Missouri statutes require any officer or employee of the University who has direct administrative and operating authority to approve, disapprove, or make binding decisions for the University or to authorize or enter into any contract on behalf of the University to provide annual financial disclosure statements. The statement must be completed and filed within 30 days of employment or within 30 days of being transferred or promoted into a position determined to be covered by the statutes (e.g., vice-president, director, and manager).

The University will determine and annually notify employees required to complete the financial disclosure statements. The completed statement should be submitted to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

2.11 Receipt of gifts policy

No employee should accept any personal gifts or favors exceeding the amount provided in Section 105.485.2(8) R.S. Mo, as amended, (currently $200.00) in monetary value in any calendar year from any single person, company or firm which transacts, or wishes to transact business with the University. This is not intended to be applicable to meals/functions conducted at the initiative of the University and involving University purposes or business, or to compensation or fringe benefits provided by the University. Any exceptions to this policy require a written approval of the employee's supervisor and vice president (if applicable), based on a written explanation for the requested exception.

2.12 Employment of relatives - nepotism policy

The University's policy regarding the employment of relatives is set forth in the nepotism provision of the Conflict of Interest Policy. No Governor, officer, faculty, or employee shall participate, either directly or indirectly, in a decision to appoint or hire an employee of the University, including regular and part-time appointments, who is related to such person within the fourth degree by blood or marriage. It also shall be a violation of this policy for an employee to supervise, either directly or indirectly, the work of another employee who is related within such fourth degree, unless the supervisory role is specifically approved by the President of the University. A relative within the fourth degree includes, but is not limited to spouse, child, grandchild, great-grandchild, great great-grandchild, parent, grandparent, great grandparent, great great-grandparent, brother/sister, aunt/uncle, great aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, grand niece/nephew and cousin. For University purposes, this includes sponsored dependent. All relationships are included, whether full-, half-, step-, foster-, adopted, or in-law. An employee or supervisor who has a question pertaining to the relatives covered by the University's nepotism policy should contact his/her department head or the Office of Human Resources.

2.13 Political activities policy

Following is the policy concerning political activity and holding of public office by members of the University faculty and staff. The policy is subject to any applicable provision of law or determination of the Missouri Ethics Commission.

2.13.1 Activity in political party organizations

Employees may engage in lawful political activities:

  • Of organizations of political parties qualified to place candidates on the ballot in accordance with Missouri Statutes or of political parties seeking such qualification.
  • Of nonparties or bipartisan groups seeking the election of candidates to public office or the approval or disapproval of issues which are or may be submitted to the voters for approval.
  • On behalf of individual candidates for public office, including candidates for membership of any political committee established by Section 115.611 R.S.Mo., et seq., (formerly Chapter 120, R.S.Mo.).

Such activity, like any other personal, non-official undertaking, must be done on the individual's own time and should not interfere with University duties. Employees may contribute funds to the above parties, groups, or candidates or expend funds on behalf of the above parties, groups, candidates or issues, subject only to state and federal laws which regulate political contributions.

2.13.2 Election to or holding public office

Before officially announcing as a candidate for or accepting any elective office, employees must inform their supervisor of such intention and that supervisor must make the fact known to the President of the University through appropriate channels. If the regulations permit, the President will offer no objection to the candidacy, provided it does not require time or attention that should be given to University duties.

  • Subject to the requirements of the Notice to the President, an employee may, without permission of the President, become a candidate for and hold a non-partisan part-time position of political office, such as member of a school board, member of a city council, member of a county legislative body or other local school or municipal office which is part-time.

Such activity must be conducted on the individual's own time, and shall not interfere with University duties.

  • The holding of any elective, full-time office in local, county, state or the federal government, including state representative or senator, is forbidden while the person is employed by the University. Before accepting such an office, a person is required to resign his or her University post. A person seeking election to such an office must resign or request a leave of absence as of the date the person receives the nomination, e.g. the date of successful primary election.

The policy is subject to any applicable provision of law or determination of the Missouri Ethics Commission.

2.14 Emergency procedures

The Office of Safety & Transportation is responsible for development and ongoing maintenance of a campus crisis/emergency response plan. The plan is designed to protect human life and University property by minimizing the danger to employees, students, and visitors from natural or man-made emergencies. A crisis may be sudden and unforeseen with little or no advance warning. The campus crisis/emergency response plan is activated whenever a crisis disrupts campus operations, threatens life, creates major damage, or occurs within the University community and its environs. The campus crisis/emergency response plan provides specific procedures to be followed in the event of any of the following.

  • Floods
  • Bomb Threats
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Chemical Spills
  • Poisons
  • Disturbances
  • Power Failures
  • Earthquakes
  • Threats
  • Fire or Explosions
  • Tornadoes
  • Suicides or Attempted suicides
  • Animal Attacks or Bites

Employees with questions regarding a crisis or emergency situation should contact the Safety & Transportation Department at 417-836-5509 or visit the department's website for a complete copy of the University's emergency response plan and how to respond to emergencies is located at http://www.missouristate.edu/safetran/erp.htm. For the West Plains campus refer to http://wp.missouristate.edu/CampusSafety/ or contact the Chair of the Safety Committee at 417-255-7225.  

If the emergency response plan is activated during an employee's normal work hours, employees are considered to be in pay status. Employees who choose to leave their work station during such an emergency must return to work within 30 minutes after the cancellation of the emergency alert to remain in pay status. However, employees need not return to work if the alert extends beyond their normal work schedule, unless they have tools, materials, equipment, or a University vehicle that must be returned. In this case, employees must return such items before leaving work. Any time that non-exempt employees remain at work beyond their normal work schedule in order to return such items, they should enter the time on their time sheet.

2.14.1 Missouri State Alert notification system

Missouri State Alert is the University’s mass notification system, which uses a variety of methods to contact students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency or school closing. Depending on your subscription, the system will make contact with you through text messages, e-mails, instant messages, phone calls or pager messages.  You can subscribe to Missouri State Alert at: www.missouristate.edu/safetran/missouristatealert.htm

The Missouri State Alert system will be used in the following situations:

  • Immediate threat/violent situation on campus
  • Security alert
  • University closings, early dismissal, delayed start
  • Severe weather alerts
  • Other emergency situations of an extreme nature
  • Periodic testing of the system

2.14.2 Emergency procedures during a tornado

Employees should familiarize themselves with the siren and other warning systems used at the University. The sirens will be activated when a tornado warning has been issued by the National Weather Service. When the tornado warning is issued the following safety procedures are advised:

  • Proceed to the nearest designated shelter area in the building.
  • Whenever possible, go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor.
  • Whenever possible, employees should protect themselves from exterior walls, windows, and doors, with another wall.
  • Avoid windows and exterior doors.
  • When walking to shelter, avoid elevators and areas with exterior windows.
  • Avoid auditoriums and gymnasiums or other structures with wide, free-span roofs.
  • Avoid low-lying areas that could flood.
  • Employees should stand or sit near the base of a wall and protect themselves from debris with a table, desk, chair, or other appropriate cover.
  • Employees should remain in the shelter location until the "all clear" notification is provided. The "all clear" information will be provided by the Safety & Transportation Department through radio or television stations, or when warning sirens have stopped.

2.15 University closings

There are a variety of reasons why the University may be officially closed on a day (or portion of a day) other than one of the recognized holidays referenced in Section 7.17 of this handbook. The reasons include, but are not limited to, severe weather, or an on-campus emergency situation which requires evacuation of a building, a part of or the entire campus, or an unplanned event of significance which warrants closure (e.g., death/funeral of a national or state leader).

2.15.1 Severe weather closing

When University classes are canceled due to severe weather, a decision will be made as to whether offices will also be closed. The decision to close the University or to cancel day classes will be announced to the news media prior to 6:00 a.m. Since the decision to cancel day classes due to inclement weather does not pertain to evening classes or second or third shift employees, a separate decision will be released to the media in time for the 12:00 noon news. An official announcement will be issued through the public media (television and radio) and through the Missouri State University home page. If classes are cancelled, but offices remain open, employees should report to work as scheduled. If offices are closed, employees are not to report to work unless they are notified or have been given prior instructions to report as part of essential services. It is the responsibility of each vice president to designate which employees are to report to work. The major administrator of the operation will be responsible for ensuring that needed employees are notified. If no announcement is made, employees should assume that activities will continue as normal.  Essential employees are required to report to work, and the failure of essential employees to report for work because of weather conditions is not an acceptable excuse and may result in employee discipline. Loss of work time because of weather conditions when the University continues operations will not be considered an excused absence. Such time lost may be taken as paid leave or the employee will not receive pay for the time missed due to the University closing. Additional information about procedures is located at  http://www.missouristate.edu/human/cancellation.htm.   

2.15.2 Compensation during university closings

When the University officially closes under such circumstances, if the announcement of the closing occurs before the start of an employee's work shift, the hours of the employee's work shift that the University is closed will be paid at the employee's regular straight time rate. If the University officially closes during an employee's work shift and the employee is sent home, the remaining hours in the employee's work shift will be paid at the employee's regular straight time rate. The hours that are paid when the University is officially closed will not count as "hours worked" towards 40 hours for the purposes of payment of overtime.

An employee who is on leave without pay (including Family and Medical Leave and workers' compensation absence) when the University is officially closed under the circumstances described in this section will not be paid for the hours that the University is closed nor use it as paid leave in the future. Employees on a paid absence, however, will be paid for the hours the university is closed and should record the appropriate number of hours as university closing rather than paid absence. Employees supplementing the payments from workers' compensation with vacation, sick leave or compensatory time off should record the appropriate number of hours as university closing rather than paid absence.

Non-exempt staff required to work during the hours the University is officially closed will be paid at their straight time rate in addition to regular pay and the hours actually worked will count toward 40 hours of work for overtime purposes. Employees required to work over 40 hours and eligible to receive overtime compensation will be paid according to the University's normal policies on overtime compensation and hours worked. Due to budget restrictions, departments may adjust work hours within the workweek in which the event occurs in lieu of compensation.

When the University is officially closed for a day under such circumstances, a day is normally defined as eight (8) hours. Employees whose regular work day is more than eight (8) hours, (e.g., employees working four 10-hour days) will be paid for 8 hours. Such employees will need to use vacation, compensatory time, or actual work hours during the work week in which the University officially closes as described in this section in order to be paid for the remaining two hours of their work shift that the University was closed. Employees whose regular work day is less than eight (8) hours, (e.g., employees working 6-hour days) will be paid for six (6) hours.  

2.16 Zero tolerance of workplace violence and threats

Missouri State University recognizes that in order to effectively fulfill its stated mission and goals the work environment needs to be free of violence and threats for all members of the University community. Missouri State University is committed to providing a work environment that is free from violence and threats of violence and will not tolerate workplace violence of any type, from any source.

Workplace violence, as defined for this policy, is any physical assault, threatening or intimidating behavior, harassment or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting whether direct or through the use of University facilities, property or resources. It includes, but is not limited to beatings, stabbings, shootings, sexual assault, oral or written statements, psychological traumas such as threats, obscene phone calls, an intimidating presence, gestures and expressions, and harassment of any nature such as stalking, swearing or shouting, and bringing prohibited weapons onto University property.

The University's Zero Tolerance policy applies to all work locations, including offices, work sites, vehicles, field locations or other locations where University business is conducted. All members of the University community are covered under this policy, including faculty, staff, and students and prohibit threatening or violent actions by employees directed against other employees, by employees directed against students, or visitors, and by students or visitors directed against University employees or other students or visitors.

Domestic violence can be a form of workplace violence (See Section 2.17 regarding the University's domestic violence policy).

The University considers threats and acts of violence on campus as a serious violation of University policy and will respond promptly to reports of violence and/or threats including prompt investigation and timely involvement of law enforcement agencies, when appropriate.  The following link provides more information on violence and threats of violence, including domestic violence, in University facilities and on University property http://www.missouristate.edu/safetran/40870.htm.

2.17 Domestic violence in the workplace

Missouri State University seeks to create a supportive workplace environment in which employees feel comfortable discussing domestic violence and seeking assistance for domestic violence concerns. The purpose of this policy is to increase awareness of domestic violence and to provide guidance to employees and management in addressing domestic violence issues and their effects in the workplace.

Domestic violence, as defined for this policy, is any physically, sexually, and/or psychologically abusive behavior that a household member or dating partner uses to establish and maintain control over another person. Such behavior can be violent or threaten violence and may result in physical or emotional harm or otherwise place a person's safety and productivity at risk. Domestic violence is a serious problem that affects people from all walks of life. It can adversely affect the well-being and productivity of faculty and staff members who are victims, as well as their co-workers.

Missouri State University does not tolerate domestic violence in the workplace, including offices, work sites, vehicles, field locations or other locations where University business is conducted. Domestic violence perpetrators may be removed from the premises and may be subject to arrest and/or criminal prosecution. Employees who engage in domestic violence in the workplace, or who use University facilities, property or resources to engage in domestic violence are subjected to disciplinary action, including termination of employment.

The University is committed to working with faculty and staff members who are victims of domestic violence to prevent abuse and harassment from occurring in the workplace and to reduce its impact on employee well-being and productivity. No faculty or staff member will be penalized or disciplined solely for being a victim of harassment in the workplace. Faculty and staff members who are victims of domestic violence are expected to cooperate with the University in instituting approaches to create a safe working environment for them, as well as their co-workers.

All Missouri State University employees need to take seriously the problem of domestic violence and its effect in the workplace. Missouri State University will take all reasonable measures to foster a safe working environment for all employees and other members of the University community. You may also contact the Family Violence Center, 417-837-7700, 24 hour hotline 417-864-SAFE (7233) or 800-831-6863 or the Missouri Coalition of Domestic Violence, 573-634-4161.

2.18 Possession of firearms policy

It is the policy of Missouri State University to prohibit the unauthorized possession of ammunition, firearms, explosive weapons, and other weapons as defined in Missouri Revised Statutes Section 571.010 (2), (6), (8), (10), (11), (13), (17) and (18) on University premises (including parking lots and vehicles owned or leased by the University) by employees of the University (i.e., full-time and part-time employees) and guests, except employees as outlined below. Authorization to possess such items on University property or vehicles may be granted by the Director of Safety and Transportation or his/her designee.

Employees of the state are authorized, as per RSMO 571.030, paragraph 6, enacted August 28, 2013 to have a firearm in the employee’s vehicle on property owned or leased by the state if the vehicle is locked and the firearm is not visible, for the duration of time that the employee is conducting activities within the scope of his or her employment.

2.19 Workplace surveillance and searches

The University may utilize reasonable surveillance and search measures, (to include video in areas where notice of such surveillance has been posted or where crimes have occurred or are reasonably expected to occur), that ensure the proper work environment. The University reserves the right to inspect and search all work areas, desks, file cabinets, lockers, lunch boxes, containers leaving University premises, and personal vehicles on University premises. All records contained in computers (including e-mail) and storage devices should be business-related and therefore are open to inspection by the University.

Surveillance cameras are positioned at several locations throughout the campus to enhance campus safety. Cameras are located inside and outside University academic and administrative buildings as well as in parking facilities. Cameras monitor nearly every area of campus from a central control facility. These cameras are monitored throughout the day and also provide video surveillance.

2.20 Information technology policies

Taxpayers, students, and others providing funding for Missouri State University technology resources expect that these assets will be used and offered equitably. Further, they expect use of these resources to support the University's mission of developing educated persons and in its mission in public affairs.

Acceptable uses of computers, networks, electronic mail, and other information technology can help enhance University communications and build a sense of community. Unlawful or inappropriate uses, however, reduce the amount of resources available to satisfy the University's purpose and can infringe upon the rights of others.

Use of University computer resources is a privilege. The University expects all authorized users to use information technology in a responsible, acceptable manner – users may not use information technology to violate the University's purpose or mission, University policy, faculty or employee handbooks, Board bylaws and rules, contractual obligations, or local, state, or federal laws and regulations. Failure to comply with University computer use policies can result in immediate disabling of computer resources, reactivation fees, removal of material violating policy, and/or disciplinary action including dismissal, civil action or prosecution. The University reserves the right to monitor computer use/communication if it has reason to do so, and to limit, revise or prioritize its computer resources as it deems appropriate.

To ensure compliance with these expectations, and applicable laws, the University requires its authorized users of the information technology resources to follow the policies regarding information technology use.

2.21 Children in the workplace

The University values family life and has worked to develop employment policies and benefits that are supportive of families. While the University seeks to focus on providing an environment open to work and family issues, it also believes that the work place should not be used in lieu of a child care provider. Further, the University believes that it is inappropriate for minor children of employees to be in work areas during work hours for several reasons:

  • The potential liability to the University.
  • Risk of harm to the children.
  • Decreased employee productivity due to distractions and disruptions.

It is the policy of the University that minor children in an employee’s care not be present at an employee's workplace (e.g., office, classroom, shop area), in lieu of other child care arrangements, during the employee's working hours. The supervisor is responsible for enforcing this policy in their respective work areas.  This policy is not intended, however, to prohibit children from the campus when the purpose of their visit is to attend classes or to participate in activities specifically scheduled for their benefit (e.g., Fine Arts Academy, summer sports or activity camps, or other similar University-sponsored events).

2.22 University signature policy

Missouri State University's Signature Policy delineates when signatures can be specified on University documents and the specific approvals required to include those signatures. Within this policy, the term "document" refers to both hardcopy and electronic formats. The term "signature" refers to the handwritten, personalized signing of an individual's name and serves as his/her legal identifier, either in original or digitized form.

No University member's signature shall be included on hardcopy documents unless that person has specifically signed the original document being copied for distribution or has specifically authorized the signing of his/her name. No University member's digitized signature shall be included on any hardcopy or electronic documents without that person's specific, written approval. In lieu of an approving authority's signature, the specification of the signatory's name and title is encouraged to be used (e.g., John Doe, Director of Acme Department).

University officials wishing to include the President's signature on a document shall: (a) have that document reviewed and approved by the appropriate vice president or chancellor in advance of distribution to the President, and (b) have that document reviewed and approved by the President prior to general distribution. This policy applies to all University faculty, staff and students.