Protecting ourselves and our campus
People around the world joined together this week to express horror and disbelief over the tragic events that occurred Monday at Virginia Polytechnic University, and to grieve with the university family and the Blacksburg community.
We have friends and colleagues at the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is in the university’s research center that is adjacent to the main campus, and we’re thankful that nobody at the medical school was injured in the incident. VCOM has been closed this week to allow faculty, staff and students to care for their colleagues, the injured and the families of those who lost their loved ones… and to mourn.
While no one wants to think that such a horrendous act could occur on our campus, troubling events like this naturally lead us to evaluate our own safety precautions and crisis procedures. Our Emergency Preparedness Plan is reviewed and updated every year, and a multidisciplinary team is currently being formed to perform this task. President Scott Ransom will update the UNT System Board of Regents on this subject at their quarterly meeting in May, and the Health Science Center community will be promptly apprised of developments and security plans as well.
In addition to familiarizing yourself with the Health Science Center’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, remember these key actions in case of an emergency:
- In case of an emergency, or to report suspicious activity or violence, call Campus Police at ext. 2600 from any campus phone or 817-735-2600 from a cell phone. DO NOT CALL 9-1-1.
- Our Campus Police force is extensively trained and will respond to emergency situations quickly and professionally. They are also in close contact with other law enforcement agencies that can offer additional support if needed.
- There are more than 20 emergency telephones located across campus. Emergency phones are located in all elevators, as well as most parking lots and garages. Once the talk button has been pushed, or the handset has been picked up, the caller can speak directly with a police dispatcher.
- State law prohibits the possession of firearms in any building on campus. This prohibition includes those persons normally licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Possession of explosives is also prohibited on campus.
- Rapid and reliable communication is critical to managing crises. In case of an emergency, a campus-wide e-mail message may be sent; the fire alarm intercom system may be used; and patrol officers may use the public address system on their vehicles. A command center to handle campus communications, as well as the flow of information to the public, will be established.
Additional emergency guidelines and information are available on the Campus Police Web site.
Reminder: Gary Gailliard will join the Health Science Center as our new chief of Campus Police on Monday, April 23. He has served as UNT’s associate director/assistant police chief since 2001. Chief Gailliard has more than 24 years of experience in the university police environment, serving at Eastern Michigan University, University of Michigan and University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Be sure to read the May 4 issue of Campus Connection for more information about Chief Gailliard, Campus Police and campus security.
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