• Safety Initiatives: Recent Highlights

     

    Student Responsibility

    Since September 2006, the President has been continually discussing, with students and parents, the importance of feeling good about oneself, self respect, peer respect and finally developing a sense of “peer responsibility;” these concepts are inter-related. If one values self and others, one is likely to avoid dangerous situations and help peers who find themselves challenged. The University teaches and preaches “peer responsibility” as the one of the most effective ways of identifying dangerous situations or people in trouble.

    Awareness

    • Student health clinic staff, psychological and other counselors, residence life professionals, coaches, police, and faculty are provided training or information to identify students who are struggling with psychological or substance abuse problems.
    • Student Services and Athletics Divisions have each developed and put in place risk management guidelines pertaining to student residence life and athletics injuries, respectively. A separate risk management guide was produced for MU Greek organizations and distributed in August 2007. These continue to be updated on an annual basis.
    • Developed a pandemic awareness/response plan that is currently being vetted with public health officials in the region.
    • Police Department and other pertinent areas have participated in hurricane awareness and preparedness exercises.

    Monitoring and Detection

    • The University has invested in fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detection systems in its University operated housing units. We have installed fire suppression systems in campus housing. We encourage those living independently off campus to invest in monitors and fire extinguishers.
    • Residence halls are locked 24/7; only students with keys can gain access. All exits are alarmed. If students have non-student guests, they must be signed in by trained lobby attendants.
    • Continually monitor food security and installed anti-bacterial hand sanitization stations in all dining areas and residence hall restrooms for employees and students.
    • Increased and upgraded camera surveillance in campus parking areas and around the student Underpass.

    Organizational Initiatives

    • Increased our professional psychological counseling staff to four full-time professionals; plus two other part-time counselors.
    • Arranged with a visiting psychiatrist for weekly “office hours.”
    • Hired two additional safety patrol staff to augment our police department; instituted roving nighttime patrols.
    • Assigned a security guard to the desk at the entrance of each first-year residence hall during the late night and early morning hours.
    • Increased police patrols in and around our gymnasium.
    • Installed a safety officer who serves as a “greeter” on the road that leads to the majority of student residence hall and parking areas.
    • Increased training for our police officers including in such areas as: active-shooter response, hostage situations, terror attacks, etc.
    • Hire only graduated BS/MS-level residence life staff and keep them trained.
    • Updated and re-issued the MU Emergency Handbook.
    • Combined the Offices of Residential Life, Health Services, Substance Awareness, and Counseling and Psychological Services in one area (Division of Student Services) to improve access for students and complement one another's approach to student issues.

    Communications Initiatives

    • Invested in modern communications systems for connectivity among our police officers, to communicate with local public safety offices in the neighboring communities, and between police and residence life and facilities maintenance staff.
    • Maintain student emergency call boxes (“Blue Light”) across campus.
    • Invested in an emergency cell phone-based alert system in 2006; it was upgraded in 2007 to a more robust system called Blackboard-Connect (formerly CONNECT-ED). Blackboard-Connect blasts critical information, in time of emergency, to users (students and other University subscribers) instantly by cell phone call, regular telephone, text message, and e-mail.
    • New electronic bulletin boards have been ordered for resident housing and commuter parking areas.
    • Installed a telephone in each classroom to enable emergency alerts to and from individual classrooms.

    Alcohol-Related Initiatives

    • Instituted a highly regarded student Good Samaritan policy. The policy provides amnesty to students who find themselves in a “code of conduct” violation situation, but who attempt to get medical/emergency attention for a fellow student who appears to be in medical crisis. See Student Handbook page 104.
    • Joined HERO ... an alcohol use education and pro-“designated driver” program that brings colleges and bars/restaurants together to provide incentives to “designated drivers.”
    • Made new students and parents aware of alcohol abuse education, treatment, policies and sanctions through brochures, pre-enrollment mailings and orientation presentations; materials and presentations are revised and updated each academic year.
    • Continually modify and improve, in collaboration with student leaders, student celebrations such as Homecoming, Spring-fest and student on-campus social events.
    • Maintain a fully staffed substance awareness office.
    • Operate a peer-delivered substance abuse education program.
    • Developed an acclaimed (by the NCAA) student-athlete code of conduct.
    • Closely monitored and formally approved an on-campus party policy for those of legal drinking age.
    • Purchased public service announcements (PSA) about alcohol abuse in the campus newspaper and make PSAs on WMCX and Hawk TV.
    • President discusses illegal and dangerous drinking with Greek organizations, SGA and athletes annually; Student Services staff and the President visit off campus houses that have chronic alcohol infractions.
    • Updated in 2005 the alcohol-related sanctions and education policies in the Student Code of Conduct (see Student Handbook pages 89-96) to include:
      • Education
      • Evaluation
      • Increasing fines with each offense
      • Community Service
      • Parental notification
      • A “3 Strikes and You’re Out” policy. (See Student Handbook pages 89-96)
       
    • Hosted three and attended other regional “best practices” conferences to glean the most successful techniques used by other schools.
    • Support alcohol-free social events for students.
    • Wrote in August 2007 to the national headquarters of each Greek organization chartered at MU regarding our expectations for safe and legal behavior. Distributed new Crisis Management Guidelines to all MU Greek organizations.

    Relationships Beyond the Campus

    • MUPD Chief is an officer in the regional campus security consortium, which enables him to have access to best security and safety practices used on all campuses regionally.
    • Developed strong working relationships with each of the surrounding municipalities and with the County public safety organizations. Neighboring municipalities will back up MUPD and vice versa if necessary