By Carson Hawkins
In today’s volatile times, campus safety and security preparedness is being redefined to meet the extensive needs of a 21st century campus.
In light of extreme violence and crimes targeting campuses, safety and security departments have an obligation to be exceedingly vigilant and trained to safeguard the community from potential threats.
Likewise, campus safety and security professionals are not the only ones who can benefit from a focus on vigilance and training.
Union University faculty on all campuses will soon receive training focused on campus violent intruder and active shooter response procedures.
This training initiative is designed to help prepare faculty to be better prepared to respond in the event a situation like this were to occur.
The training will incorporate a widely used, video-based training resource offered by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, which was selected on a recommendation from the Campus Safety Committee.
This faculty training will be the first step in an overall comprehensive initiative that will incorporate training and awareness for all faculty, staff and students on this challenging topic.
Campus safety is an all-encompassing issue that must involve attentiveness from the campus community as a whole. Faculty, staff and students must work together with campus safety officials to help ensure a safe environment for academic study and a cohesive workplace.
Below are tips that enable faculty, staff and students to become active participants in a proactive community safety program:
• For quick access save the Safety and Security 24/7 cell number in your phone: (731) 394-2922.
• Always be aware of your surroundings, and remember to take precautions at all times.
• Determine some general plans of action for possible incidents before they occur. For example, if you are approached in a parking lot at your vehicle by a stranger asking for a ride, have a pre-determined plan of action.
• Students: Always keep doors and windows secured in residence complexes at all times, even when you are there.
• Faculty and Staff: Always keep office doors and windows secured at all times when you are away.
• Always walk or jog with a group or a friend, never alone.
• Carry your campus ID at all times.
• Never leave valuables unattended.
• Always report any suspicious activity or thefts to Safety and Security immediately.
In “Renewing Minds” (2008) by Dr. David Dockery, university president, he elaborates on the three distinctive marks of a Christian academic community: A call to unity, a call to worship and a call to service.
Although all three are essential, the call to service is the mantra of the Office of Safety and Security.
Providing service-oriented, person-centered and distinctively Christian service to the campus community is our mission.
Being intentional about ensuring a safe campus environment is a community affair that produces a desired result and speaks volumes about that community as well.
Carson Hawkins is director of Safety and Security at Union University.