Campus Procedures for Crisis Situations
Aaron Krish

In the event of a crisis or safety concern, universities across the country have procedures to ensure the well-being of students and faculty on the campus. Campuses plan for the worst-case scenario and respond accordingly.

The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point has procedures concerning how to respond to crises or safety concerns. These situations range from a natural disaster to active shooters on campus. Bill Rowe, director of Protective Services, commented on the safety measures taken on campus.

“We work to complement risk-management policies at UWSP and work very closely with the risk-management staff dealing with public safety emergencies,” Rowe said.

A public safety emergency is a broad definition for a college campus. Rowe explained that examples of a situation could be something like a fire on campus, a health-related problem or something of a higher magnitude that require outside responders.

Director of Risk Management ,Jeff Karcher, explained that the word “safety” encompasses thousands of policies, procedures, practices, controls, engineering issues, work measures, behavior and designs. Every possible outcome is documented and planned for.

“UWSP is very concerned about the health and well-being of its employees, students, campus guests and visitors,” Karcher said. “The university has responded to many problems and crises previously, and they have been handled very well.”

UWSP provides safety opportunities for information sharing, training and direction setting to the campus and community through different methods like the Environmental Health and Safety Committee. The university in turn is responsible for the implementation of the procedures and training.

Under these current policies, Protective Services provides additional coverage with regard to crime prevention and personal safety work for campus. Residential Living staff, like Suites hall director Christina Lorge-Grover, also receives training to help with safety.

“Hall directors work directly with protective services and the director of Rights and Responsibilities to go through potential safety or crisis events and what typical response actions need to be taken,” Lorge- Grover said.

In addition to the training, every department on campus has access to a crisis management handbook to provide a guide for action in the event of a crisis. The handbook is found on myPoint and covers many procedures for different crisis situations.

“We have policies and procedures for any type of situation that may arise and have extensive training each fall and throughout the year to make sure everyone is clear on how to respond,” Lorge-Grover said.

Lorge-Grover further explained that after the crisis situations occur and are taken care of, all affected offices on campus meet and debrief on what happened to make sure the current procedures in place are effective and efficient.

Following a crisis, the university has procedures for Continuity of Operations Planning, meaning that the primary critical operations would be kept up and running after an emergency strikes. The object of this procedure is to move forward until business can be resumed as usual or adequate other means are met. Continual training is provided to ensure this.

“Bomb-threat training was conducted this past quarter for key response personnel, and active short drills have been conducted by Protective Services and local response agencies,” Karcher said.

There are many other extensive training initiatives happening across campus that cover other topics other than bomb threats and active shooters. UWSP provides many opportunities for the staff and students to provide feedback on the safety of the students through new initiatives.

“UWSP is enhancing our communication capabilities, Karcher said. Beginning this semester, the university will be utilizing Pointer Alerts which will deliver messages to a student’s email, cell phone and campus computer to provide information about an active emergency situation that requires immediate attention."

Through all the campus procedures and training, the general feedback received by staff and students shows that they feel safe on campus and would be well prepared to respond in an emergency situation with the training provided to them. Karcher agrees that the UWSP campus is safe.

“The university strives to continuously improve the campus environment through the best practices,” Karcher said. “Safety must be part of everyone’s daily life and we all have our share of responsibility.”