Timely Warning and Emergency Notification Policy
Revision Date: September 2017
Responsible Office: Campus Safety
This policy applies to all members of the Hope College community.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure the issuance of timely warnings regarding crimes posing a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community. This policy complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) by establishing procedures for the university regarding the circumstances and delivery of warnings of serious or on-going threats (see 20 USCA section 1092; 34 CFR 668.46(e)).
III. Policy and Procedure
What are timely warnings?
Timely warnings are provided to notify students, faculty, and staff of certain crimes that may represent a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community and to heighten safety awareness. A timely warning also seeks information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of the offender when violent crimes against persons or substantial crimes against property have been reported.
Timely warnings include information about the crime that triggered the warning, but do not include personally identifiable information about the victim of the crime. Timely warnings also include other available information that the college determines will help members of the campus community to protect themselves, ranging from descriptive information about suspects to information that promotes safety and prevention of similar crimes. The content and amount of information varies depending on the nature of the threat, the amount of information available to Hope College, the risk of compromising law enforcement efforts, and other factors. A warning is only required when the reported crime occurred on campus, public property bordering campus, or property controlled by Hope College.
When and how are warnings issued?
A Timely Warning will be sent out after Campus Safety has been made aware of pertinent information about a crime. Warnings will be sent out to the campus community by campus-wide email and will also be posted on InHope. Anyone with information warranting a Timely Warning should report the circumstances to Campus Safety immediately.
Timely Warning Notices are usually distributed for the following crimes as defined by Clery: major incidents of arson, criminal homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, sexual assault, auto theft and possibly burglary.
The location of the crime, the serious nature of the crime, and whether the incident poses an ongoing threat to the campus are the key factors in the decision to send out a Timely Warning. For example, if an assault occurs between two students who have a disagreement, there may be no ongoing threat to other College community members; therefore, a Timely Warning Notice would not be distributed. Sexual assaults are considered on a case by case basis depending on the facts of the case, when and where the incident occurred, when it was reported, and the amount of information known by the Campus Safety Department. Timely Warning Notices may be distributed for other crimes as determined necessary by the Director of Campus Safety or designee in his or her absence.
Who issues the warnings?
The Director of Campus Safety or a designee will issue a Timely Warning Notice. The Vice President of Public Affairs and Marketing, or their designee, is the designated spokesperson for any College statement made to the news media.
Non-emergency updates (such as follow-up communications) to the College community may be distributed by campus-wide e-mail, on InHope, or on the College’s publicly viewable home page.
What are emergency notifications?
The College will, without delay, initiate the emergency response system to notify the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation (e.g., gas leak, train derailment, contagious virus, etc.) involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus. The only exceptions of this are when notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.
Hope College annually tests the emergency response and evacuation procedures and publicizes its procedures in conjunction with at least one test per calendar year. These tests are documented, noting a description of each exercise including the date and time of the exercise and whether it was announced or unannounced.
When and how are warnings issued?
Notifications are sent to the entire community by text message, but could also include email communication. Notifications are sent to the entire community unless the threat is contained to a particular segment of the campus, at which time the message could be targeted accordingly. Campus media, face-to-face communication, telephone-trees, and/or posters may also be used. The information will also be placed on InHope and the college’s publicly viewable alert page (www.hope.edu/alert). The Holland Department of Public Safety will be informed all of these communications to the community as needed. Follow up messages will be sent to the campus community using some or all of the communication methods described above.
Members of the larger community who are interested in receiving information about emergencies on campus can access this information by visiting the publicly viewable alert page. Hope College students, faculty and staff can sign up for emergency text messages at plus.hope.edu by clicking Personal Information, then Update Emergency Contacts, and listing himself or herself as the first emergency contact with a cell phone number, and selecting Self from the relationship drop-down menu, then click Submit Changes.
Who issues the warnings?
To confirm there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation, an evaluation will be conducted by one or more of the following: the Director of Campus Safety, Campus Safety Officers on the scene, the Director of Operations, the Vice President of Public Affairs and Marketing, and/or the Vice President for Student Development. The Director of Campus Safety holds primary responsibility for this process and will consult others as needed. The Director of Campus Safety or designee will determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system. In cases when the threat is contained to a particular segment or area of campus, Campus Safety will gather all available information and tailor the message accordingly to the segment or segments of the campus community that could be impacted. In cases of extreme weather or reports of an active shooter, Campus Safety Dispatch is responsible for initiating the emergency notification.
IV. Authority and Amendment
This policy was first adopted by Campus Safety in this format March 2018. (Previous to this date, the language was housed fully in the Annual Security Report.)
V. Related Policies, Procedures and Documents
Portions of this policy were borrowed/modified with permission from William & Mary.
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