With the recent reports of guns on the campuses of Central Connecticut State University, Yale University and the University of New Haven, along with the approaching anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, I thought it appropriate to update you on the programs we have in place to help ensure the safety of everyone on campus.
It’s important to note that in the most recent incident of an armed person on or near the University of New Haven Campus, a private citizen saw a person with a rifle near a vehicle and immediately called 911. This swift response exemplifies the importance of the national message “if you see something, say something.” The ongoing investigation of the incident will determine the facts, but it is important to emphasize that calling 911 if you observe anything suspicious can make a big difference—as it apparently did in this case.
Sacred Heart University has an emergency preparedness program that is designed to prepare for, respond to and recover from hazards or threats. We have an experienced Emergency Management Team that meets regularly and includes cross-representation from throughout the University. We also participate with the Region One Connecticut Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security.
The team has put together a comprehensive emergency management plan to prepare the University to respond to a wide range of potential emergencies. In recent years, we have activated the plan during times of severe weather such as Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and Winter Storm Nemo. We regularly test the plan through emergency exercises, practicing responses to scenarios including severe weather, pandemic disease, and evacuation of sporting events or active shooter on campus. Our Emergency Management Brochure, which is available on the Public Safety page of the SHU website, thoroughly explains the plan.
The emergency management plan supplements ongoing emergency measures that are always in place, such as:
- An emergency alert system (EAS), which includes text, voice and e-mail alert capabilities and notices on the SHU home page to quickly alert the community in an emergency
- An emergency management page (under Public Safety on the website) that contains our emergency plan, Student Emergency Guide, incident-specific guides and more
- An information update number, 203-365-7669 or x7669, that can be called during unplanned closures, for information updates. This includes delayed openings or early closures due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances
- The ability to disseminate updates through social media (http://www.twitter.com/sacredheartuniv and http://www.facebook.com/sacredheartuniversity)
- Safety and preparedness training opportunities such as EMT training and training to participate in the Emergency Medical Response Corps
- A Behavioral Intervention and Response Team that includes representatives from across the community, such as the Dean of Students, Wellness Center, Residential Life, Public Safety, Academic Deans and Campus Ministry who confidentially evaluate cases of troubled students
- The Silent Witness Program that encourages community members, who wish to remain anonymous for any number of reasons, to report any behavioral-related issues or concerns they may have about anyone in the community using an online form on the Public Safety page of the SHU website
- Resources are also available to the SHU community at any time through:
- Campus Ministry at 203-371-7840
- Counseling Center at 203-371-7955
- Dean of Students at 203-371-7916
- Public Safety at 203-371-7955
- Residential Life at 203-416-3417
The University will continue to conduct safety and preparedness sessions at orientations, staff meetings and other meetings, as appropriate, to ensure continued awareness and preparedness. Please call Public Safety if you would like to schedule a meeting for training or discussion for your department or organization.
The safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and visitors are always our top priority. I welcome you to contact me anytime with any suggestions or concerns.
Paul J. Healy
Emergency Management, Public Safety & Campus Operations