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New security policies aim to protect campus in case of emergency

MVNU has updated its campus safety policies to better prepare students and faculty for emergency situations.

Assistant Director of Facilities Operations Russell Bray said the updates were necessary since policies had not been reviewed for a few years.

The new notification and response policies increase the number of people on campus who can respond to emergency situations. They also outline an emergency media and communications team in addition to the existing senior leadership team.

Until now, only a handful of faculty and staff on the senior leadership team were authorized to initiate a campus- wide emergency notification. However, that number has increased to about 27 and includes campus safety officers, residential life directors, the dean of students, and the director and assistant director of Facility Services.

Senior director of Facilities Operations Denny Taylor says moving forward, MVNU plans to partner with the Mount Vernon Police Department for faculty, staff and student emergency response training and drills.

These drills will include building and classroom evacuation, lockdown, shelter-in-place and more.

The most complex protocol is for lockdown, which is used to stop a violent or potentially violent person from entering or exiting campus.

In case of a lockdown and/or threat, campus safety protocol is to “Get Out, Call Out, Keep Out, Hide Out, Take Out.”

If possible everyone should “Get Out” of the building and “Call Out” to law enforcement via 911. If you cannot get out of the building, “Keep Out” the dangerous person by locking and barricading interior doors and “Hide Out” in the nearest secured place with lights off. If the above procedures fail or are not an option, the last resort is to “Take Out” the threatening person by disabling or distracting him or her.

If the threat is outside the building, doors should be locked and everyone

inside should follow the “Hide Out” procedure.

Safety also added a camera to the Cougar Drive entrance and plans to add call boxes outside that gate and near Rosewood. Call boxes are landline phones that students can use to contact Campus Safety in case of an emergency and are already in place at every dorm building and across the footbridge on the path to Lakeholm Church.

Facilities also has set up an area behind the Morrison Facilities Services Building with a generator for any media personnel that would report a crisis situation.

Bray said the goal of all these changes is “empowering people to respond quickly” to emergency situations.

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