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06/13/2019

Importance of Planning for Any Type of Emergency on Campus

During the month of May, which was the 10th anniversary of the Emergency Responders’ Forum - Resilience through Action, many teams across Campus participated in training and readiness exercises to help prepare for emergencies such as an active shooter or other violent action. The annual forum was an opportunity for all Campus responders and the Campus community to attend a half day of education and interactive dialogue focused on emergency preparedness, response, and recovery.

Should an emergency occur on Campus, Caltech is prepared to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In any emergency, the first priority is the safety and well-being of the Campus community.

The Caltech Campus Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) is the Institute’s operational guide for responding to any emergency. All individuals have a responsibility to be familiar with emergency response procedures outlined in the Emergency Response Guide, a red flip chart that is located in workspaces throughout Campus. A new version, printed and distributed this spring, is available online at www.emergencypreparedness.caltech.edu.

The Crisis Management Council is a Campus advisory group that provides guidance to Environment Health and Safety’s Emergency Preparedness and Continuity Program. Five working groups are tasked with developing plans and procedures in the following functional areas: Communications, Critical Infrastructure, Human Factors, Exercises and Drills, and Outreach and Education. The Council meets monthly and participates throughout the year in activities aimed to further the effectiveness of emergency management at Caltech.

A key Institute document is the Caltech Violence Prevention Policy. As stated in the Policy, “Caltech provides a safe and secure environment for all members of the Caltech community, including faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, students and third parties, including minors, by maintaining an environment of respect, providing conflict resolution processes, and by establishing preventative measures as well as providing assistance and support to victims.”

A number of organizations on Campus are available to assist and consult with those who may be dealing with emergencies or other work-related matters:

  • Campus Security develops programs to inform the community about security procedures and practices and to encourage the Campus community to be responsible for their own safety and that of others. Security also provides personal safety and property security tips on an ongoing basis through security bulletins distributed via email, hard copy, and on the Security website, http://security.caltech.edu/. Campus Security can also be contacted through the Everbridge mobile app which allows Campus community members to immediately report an emergency or suspicious activity via text to the Security dispatcher and has an option to include a photo with the message.
  • The Caltech Staff and Faculty Consultation Center (SFCC) provides professional and confidential consultation to active faculty, staff, postdocs and their families or domestic partners. The SFCC is staffed by skilled mental health professionals with extensive experience in assisting employees and their families to balance the complex demands of work and personal life, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, parenting, elder care, work-related stress, and communication challenges with supervisors, employees, or co-workers.
  • Student Wellness Services provides primary medical care, counseling services, and occupational therapy to the Caltech student community. Services are confidential, and free of charge to enrolled students. Students can consult about a range of health concerns, as well as access crisis counseling support after hours and on weekends by calling the main Counseling Services line, x8331, and pressing “2.” Faculty, staff, and other community members may also consult about how to best support a student or refer to professional services. Student Wellness Services also offers a range of training, outreach, and workshops on topics related to health and emotional well-being. More information can be found at wellness.caltech.edu
  • The Caltech CARE Team is a multidisciplinary group of professional staff from key areas of the Institute. Each member brings knowledge and expertise in fields including mental health, crisis intervention, student development, staff and faculty consultation, campus security, academic support, and residential life. The CARE Team also offers training on suicide prevention, classroom management, and Mental Health First Aid. In addition, the CARE Team is dedicated to ongoing professional development and training related to collegiate mental health, violence risk assessment, and best practices for behavioral intervention teams. Referrals can be made at caltechcares.caltech.edu, or by sending an email to careteam@caltech.edu.

We encourage everyone to download the Everbridge App. You’ll receive Caltech Alerts and, as noted above, you can text or send relevant pictures to Campus Security in the event of an incident or emergency. Download instructions are provided at www.emergencypreparedness@caltech.eduor https://security.caltech.edu.

You can contact the following resources during emergencies or for specific questions:

EMERGENCY CONTACTS

Dial x5000 [(626) 395- 5000] for all emergencies; Dial x4701 for non-emergency Security

ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, AND SAFETY / EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Dial x6727 from 8am - 5pm Monday-Friday; Dial x5000 for 24 hour Emergency On-Call

FACILITIES MANAGEMENT

Dial x4717 for 24 hour Service Center

STAFF AND FACULTY CONSULTATION CENTER

Dial x8360 for Non Emergency; Dial x5000 for Emergency

STUDENT WELLNESS SERVICES

Dial x8331 for Non Emergency; Dial x5000 for Emergency

After-hours crisis support: Dial x8331, press “2”

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-877-727-4747

Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741

04/03/2019

Importance of Disclosing Potential Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest (COI) have been the focus of many news stories in Medicine, Industry, and, more recently, Higher Education. Unmanaged COI’s can result in consequences ranging from damaged reputation to penalties and fines, both for the individual who has the conflict and the institution for whom s/he works. Caltech has a formalized policy on the disclosure and management of conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment to ensure the integrity of individuals and the Institute in both business and research at the Institute.

What is a COI? As stated in our Conflict of Interest Policy: “An individual conflict of interest is a situation that may compromise an individual’s professional judgment in carrying out Institute business due to an external relationship that directly or indirectly affects the interest of the individual or an immediate family member. Each situation that presents a potential for conflict of interest must be fully disclosed to Caltech, and managed or eliminated before moving forward. Conflicts of interest also include conflicts of commitment which are situations in which external activities, either paid or unpaid, interfere with an employee’s primary obligation and commitment to Caltech.”

Pursuant to our Policy, at least once a year, all Caltech personnel must disclose certain financial interests, gifts, and outside commitments that may overlap with, be related to, or may be perceived as potentially impacting their work for Caltech. Once disclosed, supervisors, division administrators or division chairs evaluate the interests and commitments and determine whether or not the individual has a conflict of interest or commitment exists. If a conflict is identified, individuals work with their respective supervisor, division administrator or chair, human resources, and/or the Office of Research Compliance to find a way to mitigate or eliminate the conflict. The process seems straightforward but can become complicated depending on the nature of the conflict.

So what should you disclose? Can you disclose too much? The short answer is to err on the side of caution and disclose all interests, relationships or commitments that are related to, overlap with, or may be perceived as potentially impacting your work for Caltech. Transparency is your friend! If you are uncertain whether or not something should be disclosed, talk with your supervisor, division administrator or chair.

When should you disclose? Well, it depends. You are required to disclose at least annually, in June. Failure to do this in June can result in delays to your annual salary increase and/or research proposal submission. You are also required to disclose during the year if 1) you acquire a new financial interest or gift or 2) you wish to work or consult for an outside entity. If you acquire a new financial interest or gift that is covered under the policy, you must disclose within 30 days of acquiring the interest. If you are a staff member or postdoc and want to work or consult for an outside entity, you must file a new disclosure and complete an Outside Activity Request Form and have it approved beforebeginning the work. If you are a faculty member and wish to work for or consult for an outside entity and the work will overlap with your research at or work for Caltech, you must file a new disclosure.

Where do I go if I have questions? Non-research staff should approach their supervisors or Human Resources. Research personnel (staff, visitors, postdocs) should approach the Division Administrator or the Office of Research Compliance and faculty should approach the Division Chair or the Office of Research Compliance.

Who cares? We all should. Even appearances of conflict of interest or commitment can result in a damaged reputation for the individual or the institute. Actual conflicts of interest or commitment can compromise the integrity of research or result in serious financial consequences. While these consequences could be significant, if everyone follows the established processes, it will ensure the integrity and reputation of the Institute and all of its faculty and staff.

10/31/2018

The Nucleus of Policies at Caltech

Policies and procedures are fundamental to the success of our organization providing clear requirements and guidance regarding Institute business and operations. Caltech has implemented 11 Institute policies that apply to the Caltech community both at campus and JPL.  These policies are reviewed annually, updated as needed, and endorsed by the President. 

The Policies, Personnel Memoranda, and Handbooks website provides easy reference for students, faculty, and staff to all of the Institute's official policies and memoranda as well as administrative guidance documents. The website is accessible from the "Quick Links" option on Caltech's homepage. 

It is important to mention that academic divisions or administrative departments may maintain procedures related specifically to the operations of their units.  These procedures may address issues not covered by Institute policy and may supplement, but not conflict with Institute policy. Please refer to the academic divisions or administrative departments directly to access these specific procedures.

For questions about policies contact audit services & institute compliance or the human resources department.

06/13/2018

Protection of Minors Website

A new Caltech Protection of Minors Website is now available on the Human Resources Homepage to provide the Caltech community with clear and consistent information regarding the protection of minors.    

Each year children and youth under of the age of 18 participate in Institute-sponsored programs and activities on the Caltech campus. Caltech is committed to making its programs and activities safe for minors who participate in them. Guidance is very important for students, faculty, and staff regarding appropriate ways to interact with minors. 

This website is designed to highlight the Caltech Minors Policy, provide guidelines and forms for program directors and supervisors working or interacting with minors, discuss Mandated Reporter obligations for training and background checks, and provide helpful resources to assist students, faculty, and staff with understanding their responsibilities when working with minors.   

 

Click here to access the Protection of Minors website.

06/13/2018

Campus 3D Printing May Require EHS Assessment

Use of 3D printers by the Caltech community has been increasing, both for research and for office/shop purposes.  If your group is considering a 3D printer, please contact the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Office for an assessment prior to use (626.395.6727).  One particular example of printers needing an EHS assessment are those that use metal powders or resins.  Setting up 3D printers requires consideration of various potential hazards intrinsic to the type of technology and intended application, and to the specific work environment where installation is taking place.  Also, if removal of support material and disposal of subsequent waste is required, the EHS Office needs to be contacted prior to use.

Since certain 3D printers may involve materials and applications of a hazardous nature, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) may be required, especially for laboratory use.  Contact the EHS Office for guidance (626.395.6727) or safety@caltech.edu.

04/11/2018

Retention and Destruction of Records

Ten years ago, the Records Retention and Disposition Guidelines and Records Retention Schedule were developed at Caltech. These Guidelines were developed to support your efforts with good records management. When you feel like you're drowning in paper, have too many electronic files, are worried about managing sensitive information, or are concerned about keeping records too long (or not long enough), these Guidelines can help you to handle your records.

The purpose of the Records Retention and Disposition Guidelines is to establish and maintain uniform records management for the control, retention, storage, retrieval, and disposal of recorded information to comply with all statutory, regulatory, and administrative requirements governing the California Institute of Technology including its operating division, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Caltech Archives collects records that can facilitate understanding of Caltech's history. These include records of administrative units responsible for research, communication, and community, as well as the professional and personal papers of Caltech faculty. Permanent records that document the history of JPL's administration and missions are preserved by the JPL Archives and are made available to researchers.
Regardless of their historic value, all Institute Records are the sole property of Caltech. These records document the Institute's organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, and history. Institute Records include all forms of recorded information (including electronic records) that are created, received, recorded, or legally filed in the course of Institute business or in pursuance of the Institute's legal obligations. All records are subject to supervisory review and evaluation prior to destruction. (JPL uses the Caltech Records Retention Schedule to manage Institute records, and the NASA Records Retention Schedule to manage government/mission records.)

Questions regarding how the Retention Schedule should be applied to a particular document should be referred first to your supervisor, and if further clarification is needed, to Audit Services and Institute Compliance (ASIC) at x8633. If a record category is not on the Retention Schedule or if another revision is required, any member of the Institute may submit a Request for Revision of Records Retention Schedule form to ASIC for assistance. ASIC and the Office of General Counsel will determine if an appropriate records category already exists or if a new records category needs to be established.
Please contact the Office of General Counsel with questions about records relating to any litigation or investigation.

The Records Retention and Disposition Guidelines are downloadable here. The Records Retention Schedule is downloadable here. To make a Request for Revision of the Records Retention Schedule, download the form here.

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