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Safety and Security Summit focuses on improving communications and training

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Christian Basi

November 30, 2017

Representatives from across the UM System discussed best practices at meeting yesterday

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri System President Mun Choi and MU Vice Chancellor for Operations Gary Ward convened top leaders from across the University yesterday to discuss best practices and protocols related to campus emergencies.

Featured speakers at the Safety and Security Summit included representatives from Virginia Tech University and the University of Florida. Presenters shared their real-world experiences in coping with security threats and how, as a result, they have strengthened security protocols at their institutions.

“There is no more important topic now than the safety of our community,” Choi said. “Although our campuses are very safe, as we know all too well, threats to campus safety can happen anywhere, anytime. It is imperative that we are leveraging our strengths and identifying our weaknesses.”

About 60 academic, safety and communications leaders attended the summit, including representatives from the UM System, campuses in Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis, and MU Health Care.

The summit included breakout sessions to discuss safety and security conditions at attendees’ respective institutions. Topics included introducing mandatory emergency training for students, faculty and staff as well as developing systemwide protocols for responding to emergencies.

In October, an active threat on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus identified knowledge gaps for some members of the university community about what to do in response to ambiguous threats. As a result, the MU Police Department is working with system human resources personnel to develop detailed safety training and more robust communications.

David Russell, chief of staff for the UM System, said the MUPD training could be tailored to assist other system campuses.

“We heard a lot of good conversation about what is working and what needs improvement at every campus,” he said. “Now we’re looking to utilize the resources we have together as a system to help make our campuses safer.”

Leaders from across the system plan to continue the discussion in coming weeks and months. Topics include how to better use technology, ensuring adequate staffing and succession planning. Choi and Russell said, in the future, they hope to host the safety summit at least once each year.

 

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