Steve Ballard, Chancellor
Marilyn Sheerer, Vice Chancellor for Student Life
EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
Campus safety has been one of the most important issues on campus since 2004, when I joined the community. Of course, since the tragedy at Virginia Tech, safety has taken on a new meaning.
We wish we could give you a guarantee that we could prevent that tragedy from occurring here. Unfortunately, I do not believe any university can realistically provide that guarantee. However, we do believe we can minimize the risk.
Recent meetings of our Safety and Security Task Force have focused on four key areas: background checks and communications; emergency response strategies; cameras and residence halls; and education and training.
ECU, along with our UNC sister institutions, is using a system for doing background checks on student and employee applicants.
We are choosing a text messaging provider; exploring the use of ALERT systems; reviewing procedures involving sirens, unit telephones, etc.; and reviewing how communication networks can function better. We have launched the use of VIPER radios, allowing ECU Police to communicate instantly with Greenville Police and other law enforcement agencies; and we will continue to support our internet warning/alert system, our hotlines for students, and the blue lights that are located across campus.
The ECU Police are reviewing emergency response strategies, including the establishment of a command center in an emergency; the use of other law enforcement agencies in providing support; an intensive community policing philosophy to make officers more visible; the use of additional lighting in key areas; and the use of practice drills for handling crisis situations.
We are working with UNC General Administration to look at the use of card systems for our residence halls; the use of staff to monitor the traffic into and out of the buildings; and the upgrading of security cameras. Currently, our residence halls are locked at all times. ECU provides services for students who may be experiencing an emotionally difficult time and have counseling needs. The services provided at the Center for Counseling and Student Development are free and confidential. Finally, we have a draft plan for educating and training our faculty, staff, and students that will focus on reporting suspicious behavior and using good judgment.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. We must provide our campus community with the knowledge and skills to respond to a crisis situation in the best way possible and be vigilant and committed to a safe and secure environment. ECU has an excellent safety record, and we have great leadership in our campus safety organizations. Please be assured that we will continue to devote time, energy and resources to these vital issues.