Colgate University is taking a series of near- and longer-term steps to protect the health and safety of students, staff, faculty, and community members.

This includes the cancellation or postponement of in-person events through April 30.

This page provides instructions based on current recommendations from the CDC, the New York State Department of Health, and the Madison County Department of Health, which we hope will be helpful as you change, postpone, and/or cancel in-person events and as you begin to draft communications to guests and participants.

At this time, guidance and regulations are fluid and subject to update as the situation develops.

We encourage you to direct your guests and participants to the COVID-19 Information and Updates page.

Virtual Events

As we enter a phase of remote learning to finish the spring 2020 semester, there are opportunities for hosting remote/virtual events and gatherings. Information and guidance for doing so effectively and safely is included below.

Guidance on:

Protecting the Safety and Security of Virtual Events

With Zoom it is possible to continue hosting important extracurricular educational and community gatherings — brown bags, lectures, discussions, and more — in a virtual context. Such events, however, are particularly vulnerable to malicious “Zoombombing” practices from trolls online looking to be disruptive and inappropriate.

If you are hosting virtual events for the Colgate community, take the time to learn how to protect the safety and security of your events:

Do not share the link to your event on www.colgate.edu, the campus calendar, social media channels, or other forms of public advertising.

Best practice for public events is to have participants register for the event and supply their email addresses. You should then share a Google Calendar invitation with those who have registered; you should include the link to your Zoom event in the Google Calendar invitation.

There are steps you can take when initially scheduling your event to maximize security, such as enabling a “waiting room,” disabling participants’ ability to do screen sharing, and much more. It is strongly encouraged that you read more about tactics for preventing Zoombombing, but as a quick guide of recommendations:

  • Turn on:
    • Mute participants upon entry
    • Require a password when scheduling new meetings
      • When requiring a password, ensure that you clearly communicate the password to your registered participants ahead of time.
    • Play sound when participants join or leave: Heard by host only
    • Screen sharing: Host Only
    • Breakout rooms: This allows the host to assign participants to breakout rooms when scheduling, and is an optional setting to give the host more control
  • Turn off:
    • Use Personal Meeting ID (PMI) when scheduling a meeting
    • Use Personal Meeting ID (PMI) when starting an instant meeting
    • Participants' video (participants can turn this back on once you allow them to join)
    • Join before host
    • Annotation
    • Chat
    • Private chat
    • File transfer

During the event, the host has many powers, including muting participants’ audio and video, and even removing participants from the room. Take time ahead of your event to get familiar with these functions so that you are prepared for the possibility that a troll may sneak in and disrupt the proceedings. See the Meeting and Classroom Management Tools section of Preventing Zoombombing.

Once the event has begun, locking the meeting will prevent malicious parties from joining and disrupting.

Publicizing Virtual Events and Webinars

The Colgate Calendar is more important than ever in providing the community with information about upcoming events. The calendar has been updated to reflect the changing nature of the events we host.

The primary view now showcases upcoming virtual events. Another tab allows users to see the listings of events that have been canceled, and a third tab allows users to view all events that have not been canceled — both virtual and future in-person events.

When submitting new virtual events to the calendar, please use the following best practices to ensure your events are displayed correctly:

This ensures the event will appear on the Upcoming Virtual Events tab. You may select multiple event formats, but the event will not appear in the correct tab if Webinar/Virtual Event is not selected.

For reasons described above, best practice is to advertise your event with a link to event registration — do not publicly share the link directly to your Zoom event. When posting events to the campus calendar, add your registration link at the end of the event description.

This may include mentioning the service through which the event will be held or changing the name of the event to reflect its new virtual nature (e.g. Museum Conversations Series: Museums and Accessibility — on Zoom).

General Guidance

Event organizers are instructed to avoid bringing visitors (including athletic recruits, alumni, speakers, job applicants, performing artists, etc.) to campus for any events or meetings prior to Thursday, April 30, regardless of the size of the event. This recommendation is in concert with the university's efforts to protect our campus community and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

To mitigate associated costs for lodging, food, and speaker fees, please make alternate arrangements, including postponements and cancellations, as quickly as possible. Because both the campus community and the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) uses the Colgate University Calendar (calendar.colgate.edu) as an index of campus events, please ensure that all your event listings are updated to reflect changes, postponement, or cancellation.

Even though the University aims to limit guests to campus as much as possible, some vendors will have to visit campus in the interests of business continuity.

To support CDC guidance on social distancing, event organizers are instructed to use alternative formats, postpostment, or cancellation for all events, regardless of size. In particular, events that are open to the public and/or require guests to travel to campus must be postponed or canceled. For events that cannot be changed, postponed, or canceled (i.e., operational meetings to discuss cleaning protocols), consider using a larger venue so that attendees can practice safe social distancing.

When possible, we encourage event organizers to consider alternative formats, including webinars or video conferencing. However, note that ITS is prioritizing the transition to online courses and will not be able to support all events.

Before communicating alternative formats to your guests and attendees, ensure that ITS or your staff will be able to support the event. Ultimately, each event organizer will have to decide whether an alternative format, postponement, or cancellation is the preferred option for any given event.

To protect alumni, parents, and friends of the University, we strongly recommend that off-campus events follow the same guidelines as on-campus events, including alternative formats, postponement, or cancellation.

We recognize that there will be financial impacts to the University as we change, postpone, and/or cancel events. Event organizers are instructed to document all unrecoverable costs, including refunds that the University issues. Additionally, as you make operational changes and cancellations, document any savings to your budgeted costs. At the end of the fiscal year, the budget office will require documentation on both costs and savings. Refer to your contracts or agreements with speakers, vendors, etc. to determine whether or not you will be able to secure refunds or credits for future events. Assistance in this review can be provided by the Purchasing Office.

Although your communications will depend on your ability to offer alternatives, we encourage you to begin by acknowledging the steps that the University is taking to protect students, staff, faculty, and the Hamilton community. In light of that overall goal, apologize for any inconveniences or disappointments, detail what steps you’re taking (including changes to the format or venue, postponement, or cancellation), and explain why you’re taking those steps. To provide the most current information and updates from University, include a link to the COVID-19 Information and Updates.

No decisions have been made regarding events after April 30. We want to acknowledge the uncertainty that comes with this constantly evolving situation. The University will provide additional communications in the coming weeks as the situation develops. The most current University communications and policies may be found on the COVID-19 Information and Updates.