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Office of the Provost | Communications


Office of the Provost
Fax: 202-885-2173
Leonard, Room Lower Level

Bass, Scott A.

Office of the Provost
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8061

November 28, 2011

 TO:  The American University Community
 FROM:  Scott A. Bass, Provost
 Donald L. Myers, CFO, Vice President and Treasurer
 SUBJECT: Winter Break Closure; December 23, 2011--January 1, 2012


We are pleased to provide details about the University’s closing for ten calendar days during the winter holiday season. Offices and buildings, including Bender Library, will be closed from Friday, December 23, through Sunday, January 1.

To maximize energy savings, buildings will have reduced heating and lighting during the break. Therefore, offices will not be conducive for work. In the unusual situation requiring access to retrieve materials—but not to work at your desk—Public Safety must be contacted as ID access cards will be disabled during this time period.

The University will reopen on Monday, January 2, 2012, which is the Federal observance of New Year’s Day. As with other Federal observances on which the University is open, please note that bus and rail services will be operating on a holiday schedule.

Responsibilities and Staffing During Winter Break Closing

Staff should check with their supervisors for details on their unit’s staffing during the break. Before leaving for the break, faculty and staff should activate out-of-office messages on email and voice mail notifying the public of the university closing.

Unit heads of offices and departments assigned essential responsibilities during the Winter Break should submit the names of essential employees to Human Resources (HR) by December 17. HR will send a reminder and form to these managers in the next couple of weeks. Additionally, they will receive a separate communication outlining their responsibilities during this time period.

Procurement and Contracts and Mail Services will be contacting major vendors and suppliers to stop or hold deliveries. Each administrative unit should notify other vendors and affected parties that the university will be closed. Public Safety cannot accept any deliveries.

Holiday Pay and Payroll

Full-time nonexempt (bi-weekly) staff designated as essential and required to work will receive holiday pay in addition to pay for each hour worked. Full-time exempt (monthly) staff designated as essential and required to work during the winter holiday break may take an alternate day off for each day during the holiday break they are required to work. Alternate days must be taken during the month of January 2012 and be pre-approved. Only those staff designated as essential on the form submitted by administrative unit heads will be permitted to receive either holiday pay or the alternate day off, depending on their pay class.

Monthly employees will be paid on December 29 instead of the last day of the month. For those monthly employees paid by check, checks will be distributed by December 22, and dated December 29. December monthly leave reports must be signed by January 2nd. Biweekly employees will be paid on December 22 instead of December 23 for the pay period November 26-December 9. Timesheets for the pay period December 10-23 must be signed by December 21.

Exceptions to the Winter Break Closing

Residence halls will close at noon, December 21. Beginning December 23, campus offices, all dining services, tunnel shops, Jacobs Fitness Center, and the Campus Store will be closed. In addition, the AU Shuttle will not operate during the break.

Exceptions to the mandatory closing are as follows:

Residence Halls

  • Nebraska Hall will remain open for resident occupancy, but the front desk will be closed. Nebraska Hall residents wishing to remain must notify their RAs.
  • Students on leases at the Berkshire Apartments may remain.
  • Congressional Hall on the Tenley campus will be open on a limited first-come, first served basis for main campus students who need housing. Applications are available online at

Office of Development

  • Limited staffing will be provided for donors making year-end gifts.

Office of Finance and Treasurer

  • Facilities, Central Plant, Auxiliary Services and Ground Operations staff will provide emergency services only (e.g., snow removal).
  • Office of Information Technology will have on-call personnel to handle emergencies for essential employees (Help Desk services will not be available).
  • Public Safety staff will provide emergency services and will patrol the campus.

Office of the President

  • The AU women’s basketball games will be held on December 28 and 30. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and wrestling practice sessions will take place.
  • WAMU 88.5 broadcast operations on all channels including Web will continue with normal scheduling throughout the break. Limited development staffing will be available for donors making year-end gifts.

Office of the Provost

  • The Pence Law Library (WCL) will allow student access. Students may be taking makeup exams in the building. The Law Clinic will be open for students and clients working on time-sensitive cases. Security will staff the law school building 24/7. Maintenance staff will respond to emergency calls.
  • The Registrar’s office will have limited staffing—to be determined.

Office of University Communications and Marketing

  • Staff will be available to coordinate emergency communications to the AU community and handle important news media requests.