Office of the President

Sept. 7, 2016 – Emergency Response and Preparedness

To: Campus community

From: Gayle E. Hutchinson, President

As you are aware, and as Chief Feeney detailed in an earlier message today, our campus received notification yesterday from Chico Police of the possibility that a man with a gun was in the vicinity of the University. Through our emergency notification system, students, faculty and staff were alerted to the potential danger. I applaud the swift response and notification to campus, and I also acknowledge that there is work to be done to raise awareness on emergency response and to ensure that the message reaches the widest audience possible.

I received emails from many who were grateful for the cautionary alert, and from others who were frightened and feeling unprepared to deal with the potential threat. Fortunately for our campus, yesterday’s alert was cleared without incident. But the experience serves as a reminder that we should all be prepared for the possibility of emergency, such as an earthquake, flood, or active shooter. This is the reality of the world we live in today.

Chico State uses an emergency notification system called Send Word Now to communicate potential threats. All students are automatically registered to receive the alerts; faculty and staff have the ability to opt in and I strongly encourage you to do so. Communications can be received by phone message, text or email, or a combination of these. If you did not receive an alert yesterday, go to the link to register today.

While we understand that it is frightening to receive notification about a potential threat, I and other campus leaders take seriously our obligation to keep the campus community informed. Over the next few months, we will explore additional strategies to prepare the campus community to respond to threats and emergencies. Safety of students, faculty, staff and others is paramount to all of us.

I would like to thank the University Police Department, Chief John Feeney and all those involved for the rapid response to yesterday’s threat. Many processes and protocols are in place to deal with emergencies on campus. My goal is to raise awareness of these practices, especially among new students, faculty and staff. I believe it is critical that use of the emergency notification system be paired with the knowledge of how to interpret the information and how to respond. Here are some of the currently available resources:

  • The University Police homepage includes information on personal safety awareness, campus-wide safety, campus safety programs, as well as instructions on reporting a crime or threat.
  • The Emergency Preparation webpage features information on blue light phones, preparedness training, and the emergency notification system.
  • The University Emergency Response Plan (PDF) contains information on reporting and responding to emergencies of all types: injury, fire, severe weather, earthquake, hazardous materials and violent or criminal behavior. The guide contains general response guidelines as well as assembly points for all buildings on campus.

With the resources and plans articulated above, and given the special community that we share, I am confident that we will be able to respond in an informed and intentional manner to emergencies we may face.