And now a word about campus safety

With the families of our students getting set to descend on our campus for the time-honored William Woods tradition of Fall Family Weekend, I look forward to visiting with so many of them about all the happenings here at The Woods. When the time comes for them to say their goodbyes to their students and head home, I often find myself reflecting on the awesome responsibility that is entrusted in us as leaders of this institution. Much like I do when parents drop off their sons and daughters for the first time with us, as freshmen.

Of course the foremost responsibility we have is to provide their young men and women with a first-class college education that will enable them to land a solid job upon graduation, embark upon a career and pursue their dreams.

But equally important is the responsibility we have to keep their loved ones safe and secure while they are students at William Woods. And while campus safety and security has never been more prominent as a national story across higher education than it is right now, I can assure you that it has always been a critical priority here at WWU, and always will be.

Just last month, we hosted the Fulton Fire Department for a “controlled burn” event on campus to educate our students, faculty and staff about fire safety (see the photo accompanying this post). The event included the burning of a mock college residence hall room, a ton of useful information about fire safety and the opportunity to ask questions of the fire safety professionals present. It was an important experience for our campus community, but just the latest in a series of measures we have instituted to promote and maximize safety and security on our campus, including the following:

  • A system of emergency notification called Woods Alert, whereby the entire WWU community is instantly notified via email, phone call and text message should there be a crisis situation or severe weather alert. Updates from Woods Alert also appear on the William Woods University homepage,
  • Strategically-placed security cameras stationed across campus, with a new camera installed just this year, to allow our Campus Safety staff the means to effectively monitor the entire campus at all times
  • A system of call boxes posted throughout the WWU campus, which provides assistance to any student, faculty or staff member who might need help or assistance. Each box contains a red button that calls 911 to contact the police, and a black button that contacts Campus Safety
  • A mobile data terminal installed in the campus safety vehicle, allowing officers to complete desk assignments, download important safety information and monitor the campus security cameras, all from inside the vehicle
  • An Emergency Operations Planning committee, consisting of staff and faculty representatives, who are responsible for reviewing emergency operation plans, which include all categories from crisis management to weather. The team meets on a monthly basis to review emergency plans to ensure that they are current, relevant and understandable.

While no campus security system is 100 percent effective, parents, prospective students, and visitors to The Woods should always feel reassured that their physical wellbeing and safety have always and will always be a top priority for us.

Welcome to all parents, family members and friends for Fall Family Weekend!

Dr. Jahnae Barnett