Safety and Security on Campus
Oct. 12, 2007
Recent tragedies at Virginia Tech and other institutions have underscored the importance of ensuring the safety of our students, faculty and staff. As your sons and daughters take a short break from their fall studies, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on what Susquehanna University is doing to maintain a safe campus environment.
Like many other higher education institutions across the country, Susquehanna has been actively reviewing its capacity to respond to criminal activities, natural disasters and other situations that pose risks to our community. The following is an update of our security protocols, as well as the university's capacity to communicate with the campus community in the event of an emergency. Many of these measures were in place well before the Virginia Tech shootings.
- Security cameras are installed at 11 critical locations around the campus. The cameras allow close-circuit monitoring from a central location on an around-the-clock basis. The placement of the cameras balances the privacy and safety concerns of students.
- An emergency system is in place that can broadcast text messages to students, faculty and staff about real-time threats to health and safety. Campus public safety officers have the authority to transmit emergency text messages if they determine an imminent threat to life.
- Campus public safety officers, along with local and county law enforcement and emergency responders, have received training on how to handle an active shooter. To test their skills, a drill was conducted recently on campus.
- Public safety officers receive training annually on how to respond to emergencies in general.
- The exterior doors of all electronic-access buildings, which include most residence halls and a number of academic buildings, can be locked remotely from a single location. We are developing a plan to add additional campus buildings to this system.
- An early alert system that considers the privacy rights of students is in place to monitor those who might pose a danger to themselves or others.
- Our crisis management plan has provisions for establishing a central operations center to respond to emergencies, as well as an information center to handle communications with the public and the news media.
- Advocacy and counseling are available to the victims of crimes, including families, friends and community. We also have a number of proactive programs designed to educate students about how to be safe.
- The university enforces a policy of prohibiting guns on campus and has made the policy available to students, faculty and staff.
As always, my staff and I are available to discuss this situation further and to address any questions or concerns that you may have.
To ensure speedy receipt of correspondence from Susquehanna University, I encourage you to share your e-mail address with us at http://www.susqu.edu/parents/info/.