To: U.Va. Parents
From: Patricia M. Lampkin, U.Va. Student Affairs
Subject: U.Va. Safety Procedures
As we continue to deal with the after-shocks of the Virginia Tech tragedy, we recognize that parents and many member of the community have questions about established security procedures at the University of Virginia.
Safety of our students has always been a top priority. A number of us – from University Police to the Resident Staff and other Student Affairs professionals to those who serve on a University-wide safety committee – embrace the safety of our students and the larger community as central to our responsibilities. All of us collaborate as needed to respond to an event. Finding ways to improve safety is at the forefront of our minds.
As President Casteen said at a University-wide candlelight vigil last evening, colleges and universities are permeable communities. We value this freedom of movement as much as we value open dialogue and the flow of knowledge. As we move forward from this tragic incident, we somehow will need to balance these values with the reality of living in an era of still rare, but nevertheless real, evil and violence.
We are now in the process of reviewing our safety and notification procedures to see where they can be strengthened. As an immediate step, we have increased the number of uniformed personnel around Grounds, and those officers are being especially attentive to the surrounding environment.
We do maintain and regularly review crisis plans for responding in the face of various disasters, whether those disasters arise from severe weather, terrorism, building malfunctions or disease. We are confident in those plans, in the capacity of our staff to implement them if needed, and in our ability to fine-tune them as situations dictate. At the same time, we acknowledge that living as an open society makes us vulnerable to unforeseen, virtually unpreventable, acts of violence.
Our current procedures for communicating with students in the event of a crisis involve the use of mass e-mail and Web postings. Since September 11, 2001, the University has posted news of emergencies and critical incidents on a Web site: http://www.virginia.edu/emergency/. One-line emergency notices also appear in red type on the University’s homepage.
We use an emergency telephone line to convey news of closings. In some cases, the news media can be our best vehicle for conveying critical news to large numbers of people.
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Last Modified: Thursday, 23-Aug-2007 10:12:17 EDT
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