Crisis Communication Policy
Policy Number: 4.23
Current Effective Date: 05/07/2020
Original Effective Date: 05/07/2020
Revision Dates: 0
Revision Number: 0
Revision Summary: new policy and procedure created
Responsible Official: KCTCS President
References: Administrative Procedure 4.23-P
In today’s world, it is likely the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (colleges and System Office) will face a crisis of some type. There are two categories of crises – sudden, such as a weather event, active shooter or even social media; and, smoldering, which is a crisis that has been a while in the making. Examples of a smoldering crisis include embezzlement, staff reductions, inappropriate behavior by a faculty/staff member and lawsuits.
In times of crisis, it is important to protect and promote our reputation. In emergency situations, such as an active shooter or severe weather, the safety and security of students, employees and stakeholders are the top priority.
It is imperative for KCTCS to have a comprehensive communication plan that addresses as many crisis scenarios as possible. The plan allows the System Office (SO) and Colleges to communicate clearly, effectively and efficiently with internal and external stakeholders to provide timely, accurate information and avoid confusion.
The scope of this policy includes not only the System Office, but also the 16 colleges.
It is KCTCS policy that all communications regarding crises affecting either the System reputation or individual Colleges, or an emergency situation that could endanger lives, be properly coordinated by the Marketing Department. All media requests shall be sent to the Marketing Department.
If a College has a crisis situation, the College Marketing Department, the College President, and other key stakeholders may choose to involve SO Marketing Department and others in developing a plan before information is released internally or externally. (See Crisis Communication Matrix in the Crisis Communications Manual for when Colleges must inform SO Marketing.)
The SO updates its Crisis Communication Manual yearly. The Colleges shall have their own plans and update those yearly as well. The SO Marketing Department shares its plan with the Colleges each fall and recommends that the Colleges customize the SO manual to their needs.
The Marketing Department (SO or College involved in the crisis) is the first contact for and the source of internal and external communication. In times of emergency at the SO or a College, the System Director of Emergency Operations will inform SO Marketing Department of the situation.
KCTCS uses the Incident Command System (ICS) in times of life-threatening emergencies. The Marketing Department (SO and/or College) will work closely with the incident commander and follow ICS procedures. In some ICS events, first responders/law enforcement will handle external communications.
For those situations that do not involve the possibility of harm to people or property, the Marketing Department works closely with the president, legal team and others as appropriate to the situation to recommend internal and external communication strategies.
The Marketing Department will:
- Be an authoritative, transparent, reliable source of accurate information for news agencies, the public and internal audiences.
- Brief internal audiences before information is released to the public.
- Brief the media early in the emergency providing an overview of what’s known at that time.
- Issue statements, releases and social media posts as soon as possible and provide periodic updates to internal audiences and news agencies.
- Monitor and respond to social media posts, emails and phone calls from media and the public.
- Coordinate and manage media briefings.
- Participate in and co-lead in the Crisis Management Team, which is developed through the Director of Emergency Operations.
Administrative Procedure 4.23-P implements this policy.