The Johns Hopkins University
March 1, 1999
Conceptually, Johns Hopkins' response should be to establish a Crisis Response Team [CRT] and create a standing Committee on Crisis Management [CCM]. The CRT would manage the University's response, when activated, to any "institutional crises." The CCM will develop a university-wide crisis response plan and assure that all divisions and functional units have plans to efficiently and effectively respond to crisis-related events. A general, preliminary description of both follows.
Crisis Response Team. The Crisis Response Team Subcommittee has met regularly to define the structure, composition and operational characteristics of the vehicle that the Johns Hopkins University will use to manage "institutional crises" as they have been defined. A large number of issues have been identified and the following have been forwarded to the full Committee on Crisis Management as preliminary recommendations. What follows is a succinct summary of some of these issues and recommendations.
Proposed Operating Principles
1. Wherever possible in emergencies, the divisions and functional departments of the University will be the primary responders and will immediately alert the Office of the President.
2. Situations in which divisions or functional departments require assistance should be referred to the Chair of the University-wide Crisis Response Team [CRT]. The Chair will consult with appropriate parties and make an initial determination concerning the level of University-wide response.
3. The Chair can convene the full membership of the CRT and can invoke three different levels of University response in an emergency. These include: 1-Alert level; 2-Partial Response; and, 3- Full response.
4. After business hours, all communications regarding emergency situations will be routed to and through the University Security Departments. The Director of the Security Department or his/her designee will determine if an event or situation meets the criteria for consultation with the Chair of the CRT.
5. The members of the CRT will be appointed by the President of the University.
6. The President, Provost, and Senior Vice President for Administration will determine the specific types of crises in which one or more of them will need to be directly involved.
7. The Chair of the CRT will be authorized to convene the full membership of the Team, alert senior leaders and other appropriate officials in the University, and take all appropriate action on behalf of the University in response to any crisis.
Proposed Structure of the Crisis Response Team
Chart-3 presents a preliminary description of the Johns Hopkins University crisis response system. At all times, the senior administration of the University will be responsible for the management of crises facing the institution. However, it is anticipated that the members of the senior leadership group may need to be directly and personally involved in the moment-to- moment or day-to-day management of only a relatively limited number of situations. A clear set of guidelines concerning these situations will be established prior to initiation of the crisis response system. In all situations in which the senior leadership team is not directly and personally involved, the authority for the University-wide response to a crisis will be delegated to the members of the CRT.
As currently envisioned, the CRT will consist of four permanent members, two senior administrators, one of whom will serve as the Chair of the team, one member of the Communications and Public Affairs Office, and one member representing the General Counsel's Office. In addition, and in light of the principle of the divisions and functional units remaining as the primary responders in an emergency, a member of the affected division or functional unity will be a participating member of the CRT for the duration of that crisis situation.
The CRT will function according to a set of guidelines and protocols that will be established initially by the Committee on Crisis Management and progressively refined via the membership of the team through its ongoing experiences. The crisis response system will also require each of the operating divisions of the University and major functional units within central administration to devise their own crisis management structures. These structures will be aligned appropriately with the University-wide response plan. The Committee on Crisis Management will also develop, recommend and adopt a typology of crises/emergencies that will guide the decisions and structural involvement of the senior leadership, CRT, divisions, and functional units in any situation that arises.
Proposed Policies and Procedures
As part of it's charge, one of the CRT's first tasks is to develop a set of operational policies and procedures. Proposed for inclusion are the following essential items:
1. Statement of purpose of the CRT
2. Definition of role and responsibilities
3. Procedure for assessing the magnitude of a crisis
4. Telephone tree
5. Procedure for upward communication/liaison
6. Procedures for communicating with external authorities and predetermined persons "in charge"
7. Procedures for communicating with internal constituents
8. Criteria for success
9. Termination of the CRT's response
10. Built-in assessments and reviews [drills, evaluations, expiration, update and renewal of policy and procedure statements, etc.]
11. Budget proposal and justification for relevant material and fiscal resource needs.
Proposed Parameters for the CRT's Response
The CRT will reach a state of operational readiness after it develops an initial set of policies and procedures. It should then remain poised to respond. The parameters of its initial response should include the following duties and tasks:
1. Determining the extent or magnitude of an event. Activating an appropriate level of response.
2. Contacting CRT members.
3. Implementing the appropriate type and level of internal operational support.
4. Identifying the need for and level of external support.
5. Identifying and communicating the level of senior management that is required.
6. Defining the scope of a notification roster and developing an agenda for an initial communication meeting.
After responding to an event, the parameters of the CRT's duties and tasks should shift to:
1. Assessing the initial response level and determining if additional support is needed.
2. Identifying if any secondary or tertiary areas were impacted.
3. Obtaining status reports on the recovery process.
4. Determining if and when to terminate the CRT's response.
Proposed Committee on Crisis Management
The current Committee on Crisis Management should be continued, or one similar to it should be established. In support of the CRT, the responsibilities, or charge, for this new standing committee should include:
1. Developing the university-wide master plan and response system.
2. Overseeing the crisis management process.
3. Identifying leadership and membership.
4. Involvement of divisional representatives.
5. Coordinating the overall planning process for three major groups: university leadership, CRT and Divisions, and related non-academic units and departments.
6. Planning and coordinating university-wide training and drills.
7. Maintaining the readiness of the institution.
8. Assuring compliance with internal and external requirements for crisis management. [i.e., making sure that all divisions and functional units have prepared plans that are functional and effective].
9. Establishing guidelines and expectations for training and performance.
10. Providing consultation to all divisions and functional units to meet established expectations and future challenges.
11. Developing and proposing a budget and justification for relevant material and fiscal resource needs.
The major elements of a proposed institutional crisis management action plan are illustrated conceptually in Chart-4.
Go to Report of the Committee on Crisis Management Table of Contents
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