Campus security issues addressed

The faculty senate meeting covered issues on campus security, covering how students are affected and what faculty can do to address the issues.

Dan Nadler, vice president of student affairs, spoke on the campus security and what progress it is making on a university level.

Nadler spoke of how the university has made progress over the prior three years in efforts to make security and safety better for students and faculty.

“We actively participate in one emergency drill per year which (often) includes the university and Charleston police and fire departments,” Nadler said. “It helps us prepare for emergencies, manage emergencies and recover from emergencies.”

Nadler and Bill Weber, vice president of business affairs, share responsibly of campus safety and security.

Weber focuses more on the facility-side of campus safety, which may include drills involving a fire or flood, while Nadler focuses on the safety and security of the student and faculty of the university.

Adam Due, chief of the university police department, said the police department on campus serves as a active resource in response to panic alarms.

“We don’t have some of the issues some universities have,” Due said. “Our stats are pretty stable. The things that will change are alcohol citations.”

Nadler said the counseling center does events such as “No more secrets” posters or booths at events. They also have one counselor available in the morning and one available in the afternoon for on-call emergencies.

“We have a safe community, on and off campus.” Nadler said.

Nadler said there are police officers who patrol Eastern 24 hours, seven days a week. Police officers have the opportunity to be in vehicles, bicycles, and on foot.

“Being visual is a proactive measure,” Nadler said.

Katie McCarthy, assistant director of the counseling center, deals primarily with the health emergencies of the campus.

McCarthy said parents and students are advocates for helping address the behavioral problems of students.

“We do a lot of identification of students, sometimes a lot of consultation of faculty and staff with students when there’s a concern,” McCarthy said. “We do some intervention when we have to help facilitate to help reduce the negative consequences of the emergency.”

If the student displaying bad behavior in class, the student may be breaking the code of conduct, McCarthy said.

Heather Webb, director of student standards, focuses on the behavior of students, which could take place either on or off campus.

“It’s important for people to observe what they see in student papers or emails they send,” Webb said. “If it makes you feel uncomfortable, there are many places on campus you can call-the police department, academic advising, counseling.”

When students are no longer welcome, students who are suspended or expelled are banned from being on campus, which raises red flags to other institutions the student may go after Eastern, Webb said.

“We help identify students that may be a threat to our campus community,” Webb said. “We intervene when appropriate.”

Gary Hanebrink, safety officer III for Eastern, spoke of how he has worked with emergency agencies in Coles County.

“In the last three years, we’ve improved the outdoor siren systems, programmed them with some pre-recorded messages and live-voice systems which can be activated by the patrolman out on the beat,” Hanebrink said.

The police officer has a radio they can signal and the radio will play the message, Hanebrink said. This makes it simple for law enforcement to make direct messages to the outside community, Hanebrink said.

“Many of the buildings have a new fire alarm system which have a speaker system in it,” Hanebrink said. “We’re working on a fiber optic system to bring the voice-activated system into 16 new buildings on campus.”

These fire alarm systems can be activated through the campus police department, Hanebrink said.

In 2012, there are plans to be a state-wide exercise on Eastern’s campus during the second week of June.

“Many of these specialized law enforcement and fire department teams will be on campus and the exercise will be based around the old steam plant,” Hanebrink said.

The exercise will also include the buildings of Lawson, Stevenson, and some auditoriums on campus.

Nadler then moved on to discuss the basis of Alert EIU and what it means to the campus. Alert EIU is the capability for students and faculty to subscribe to text messages in the event of a campus event.

“We treat it as imminent danger, highest danger,” Nadler said. “We would send an alert out via text message in addition to the email and sirens. Our goal is to send a once-a-year test message.”

If the campus has to send something out in the case of an emergency, it has the option to send messages through the system within a few seconds through emergency mode, Nadler said.

Nadler said his team has to be proactive by sending an email out to faculty.

“Always report,” Nadler said. “We find a lot of crossover. If a student is acting a certain way in the residence hall, the more likely that behavior is acted out in the residence halls.”

The counseling center often receives calls about students that are missing classes.

“Sometimes they just left town and forgot to tell someone,” Nadler said.

Nadler said there are benefits from sharing concerns of students with faculty.

“We have to be intrusive we have to be,” Nadler said. “We have to get the student on the right path successfully.”

Jennifer Brown can be reached at [email protected]