April 17, 2007


Dear Colleagues, Students and Friends,

The entire Northern Arizona University community shares the shock and stunned disbelief about the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

A horrific event such as this makes everyone reflect on questions about why, how and whether it could happen here. Sadly, such a ghastly act of violence could happen anywhere in a free society.

Yet the university has procedures and measures to make its campus as safe as possible. The specific protocol will depend on the nature of the emergency. The NAUPD has general safety tips online.

If anyone observes suspicious behavior or activity, call the NAUPD emergency line 523-3000 or 911.

NAU's Flagstaff campus has a history of safety and works hard to keep it that way. NAU maintains a fully accredited, 24-hour-a-day police department on campus.

The NAU Police Department conducts training exercises at least once a year and participates in joint training with other law enforcement agencies at least annually.

The university's Incident Management Plan is continually updated and outlines procedures for dealing with a range of situations, from natural disasters, to public health issues, to criminal acts. Additionally, the incident management team assembles when it needs to deal with a crisis or emergency situation on campus.

The university also has several methods for communicating with campus about a crisis or emergency. It has a notification system for students, faculty and staff, including e-mail, web, phone calls, door-to-door notification, radio, television, and public address systems in Reilly and Sechrist residence halls. When time allows, posters and fliers are distributed.

Five residence hall buildings require card access, and all remaining halls will be converted to this type of access system this summer.

More than 90 emergency telephones are connected directly to the police dispatch center.

Safety escorts are available any time for anyone walking from one location to another on campus including residence halls, sororities and fraternities.

Nevertheless, the university cannot afford to think it is 100 percent prepared, which is why in the aftermath of the senseless loss of innocent lives at Virginia Tech, the university will evaluate procedures for dealing with and communicating about crisis situations in the coming weeks.


John D. Haeger