Admins address questions about new security systems

The Duke Student Government Senate discussed changes to the University's emergency preparedness policies at the organization's meeting Wednesday night.

David Jarmul, associate vice president of news and communications, and Aaron Graves, associate vice president for campus safety and security, presented senators with the new measures, which were drafted in response to the Virginia Tech shootings last spring and released in November.

"The University has spent a lot of time... to make sure we have a robust, effective crisis management plan," Graves said. "We realize there is a wide range of challenges to overcome in doing that."

A brochure detailing the new measures was mailed to all undergraduates and parents over Winter Break.

The administrators outlined protocol on how to act in case of an emergency, explaining that the University is planning to install both high- and low-tech means of alerting the community in crisis situations.

For instance, the University is acquiring high-tech alert systems including sirens, speakers and text messaging, Jarmul said, adding that "redundancy" will be emphasized in getting the word out about an emergency.

Vice President for Community Interaction Genevieve Cody, a senior, voiced concern about the effectiveness of using drills to test such alert mechanisms, saying overused drills often cause students to ignore the warnings.

Graves said campus security expects students to respond to all warnings in the interest of their own safety.

"We put [instructions] in place, but there's still a sense of personal responsibility, and we can't hold each individual accountable in that regard," he said.

Jarmul acknowledged that the changes were not comprehensive, adding that a number of details were still being fleshed out.

"The fact is there's still a lot more to be done," he said. "We're still trying to nail down what to do about text messaging and other issues.... This is really complicated-we do a drill and figure out five things we forgot."

In other business:

President Paul Slattery, a senior, presented changes to event registration policies implemented over Winter Break and demonstrated a new Web site for party monitor training.

A student-designed Web site, rather than Blackboard, will be used for the training to further minimize the amount of time required for completing the online course, Slattery said.

When party monitor training was moved online to Blackboard in the Fall, students were required to e-mail the Office of Student Activities and Facilities to be enrolled. The new Web site allows students to complete the training and take the quiz without waiting for an initial response from OSAF.

Slattery said he is working with Provost Peter Lange to create a University calendar of events that he expects to be completed by the next academic year.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Gina Ireland, a senior, updated senators on the proceedings of the task force evaluating the Office of Judicial Affairs. The task force-currently in its research phase-is forming a student engagement committee to gather student input on judicial affairs.


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