Campus Security: Questions and Answers
April 16, 2007
Is Wake Forest offering any assistance to Virginia Tech?
Yes. President Hatch sent a message to President Steger offering any kind of help deemed appropriate. He specifically offered the services of our counseling faculty and staff. You can read the text of his message at: http://www.wfu.edu/president/
In addition, University Chaplain Tim Auman is planning a memorial service later this week for the entire Wake Forest community.
What steps is Wake Forest taking to ensure that something like this cannot happen on campus?
All of us who live in today’s world and in our open society recognize that no one can guarantee safety—at home, in school, at work, on the highway, in the air. But we can and have taken certain steps to try to make our campus as safe as possible.
First, our campus is rather compact, as universities go, and it has only three access/egress routes. It is therefore easier for us to close down the campus to vehicular traffic if circumstances should require it.
Second, we have a fully sworn, well-trained, armed and experienced Campus Police Force who work cooperatively with the Winston-Salem Police Department, with whom we have a mutual-aid agreement. We have 24-hour coverage by Campus Police, including car, bicycle, and foot patrols. We have an experienced detective as well as crime scene processing capability. A 24-hour Police Communications Center receives 911 calls from phones on campus; has a direct computer link with the State Bureau of Investigation; has direct criminal check links with Triad-area and other police agencies; monitors other emergency response agencies’ radios; and monitors fire and water-flow alarms. Our gates are closed and gatehouses staffed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
We have student and staff emergency medical responders and a 24-hour medical facility on campus.
There are more than 40 emergency phones in our parking lots, and we have a campus shuttle that takes students to campus destinations at night.
Our security officers work with other Student Life employees to help educate students about crime prevention. A Campus Police web page publishes safety tips. There is a police officer liaison program in residence halls and academic buildings. We also offer rape aggression defense training for women and workplace violence awareness training through Human Resources.
Third, we have a seasoned Crisis Management Team whose members meet regularly to develop, review, and update plans for various crisis scenarios. In fact, the Team was called together on the afternoon of April 16, after we learned of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, to review plans and information.
Were any of the students in the joint biomedical engineering program between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg today?
According to Dr. Peter Santago, the Wake Forest director of the program, all 22 Wake Forest students were here in Winston-Salem.
Are Wake Forest students allowed to have guns on campus if they have a permit?
No. In North Carolina, it is a felony to possess a firearm on any campus.
Is it possible for any campus visitor to walk into any building or classroom at Wake Forest? What kinds of precautions do you take to prevent crime?
Because this is a university that receives many visitors each year, and because we encourage students to visit their professors during office hours, we lock our classrooms only at night. Students have restricted, monitored key cards for access to their residence halls. Closed gates add to the campus security in the evening through sunrise.
What are the circumstances under which you would lock down the Wake Forest campus?
The President would authorize closing access to campus as a result of any incident that poses an imminent danger to the campus community.
What is the most serious crime that has happened on the Wake Forest campus?
In recent years sexual assaults and muggings have occurred on our campus, and we had an abduction from a parking lot, although the victim was released unharmed.
If something similar happened at Wake Forest, how quickly could you get word to the campus residents and community?
We send campus-wide broadcast e-mails and voice-mails from time to time, and this would be the case if we had a dangerous event in progress. Information would be posted on the University’s emergency Web site: http://emergency.wfu.edu
Building-to-building alerts by Campus Police would be another means of reaching people. In addition, each campus building has Security Council representatives who assist in communicating information to the departments in their building. Residence Life and Housing staff have communication protocols for the residence halls.
Will what happened at Virginia Tech change Wake Forest’s overall security?
Certainly we will use this tragic event to remind our students that they should report any suspicious individuals to Campus Police. We will continue aggressively monitoring our campus for suspicious activity and rely on crime-prevention education to help us keep the campus safe.