A Message to the UT Dallas Community
in the Northern Illinois Shooting Aftermath
Feb. 17, 2008
Dear Members of the UT Dallas Family,
Last week we received word of another tragic shooting on a state university campus. We hold the members of the Northern Illinois University community in our thoughts and offer them a message of support as they confront this nightmare come to life.
When one campus experiences extraordinary tragedy, the effects ripple across colleges and universities throughout the nation. Not quite a year ago, the world was shocked and saddened by the shootings at Virginia Tech. Since then, more reports of campus violence and threats of violence have shaken us — last week, at Louisiana Technical College, in December, at Louisiana State University, in November, at the University of Chicago, and others as well. At each of these reports, we are reminded of the need to support one another, as institutions and as individuals. We reach out to all our colleagues who are facing the challenge of violent tragedy in a place of learning.
As we have said in the past, there is no formula for responding to the unimaginable. But we can and do continuously examine our own security procedures and share information. In that spirit, I want to offer reminders on means of response to emergencies on our own campus.
Our means of communication include:
- An e-mail channel that, when activated, would send a priority electronic message to every e-mail box on campus. This is separate from our “bounce” system, and cannot be filtered or blocked by the recipient.
- A reverse 911 system that allows voice mail broadcast to every hard-wired telephone on campus.
- An advisory telephone number that was recently created in anticipation of any event that might require the closure of campus. This number carries an announcement regarding campus operations at all times, and would be used to advise of any campus closure. You are encouraged to try it out at 972-883-7669, and to add this number to your cell phone’s directory.
- Mobile Campus, a service the university and Student Government implemented. Mobile Campus enables text messages to be sent to cell phones of every member of the campus community that has opted into the service. For more information about this service, click on www.mobilecampus.com.
- And, of course, emergency information would be posted on the UT Dallas Web site home page, www.utdallas.edu.
Beyond communication, the university has security mechanisms in place to deal with emergencies. Among these are:
- Plans to actively respond to developing emergency situations, including “shelter in place,” or lockdown, of affected facilities.
- A 50-member response team of university personnel who have been trained to assist in the evacuation of buildings.
- Mutual aid pacts with the City of Richardson Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and other area law enforcement agencies, with whom we have prearranged plans regarding rapid response to campus emergencies. Our own police force, which is sworn and fully commissioned, has received training specifically for emergency response.
Crisis can touch any campus. Our job is to take prudent, comprehensive approaches to anticipating emergencies, laying groundwork and committing resources to deal with whatever may arise. We will continue to do so, and to share information about that planning with you.
I also want to remind everyone that our campus police force is well trained to deal with people whose behavior is cause for concern. If you have concerns about anyone whose behavior seems erratic or potentially threatening, please contact the UT Dallas Police Department.
I am deeply saddened by these events, and the waste of human potential they represent. They remind us that our campus must stay aware and alert to the possibility of an emergency. We must not, however, allow fear to overtake the work of pursuing our mission of teaching and learning and advancing knowledge, on this campus, or across our nation.
David E. Daniel
Media contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155