On May 4, 2007, Missouri State University President Michael T. Nietzel appointed the “President’s Emergency Response Task Force” (Task Force). The Task Force was named as a direct result of the tragedy at Virginia Tech University, which occurred on April 16, 2007. President Nietzel charged the Task Force with “reviewing existing campus emergency response policies and procedures, identifying areas of potential improvement, and developing a recommended implementation plan, including a timeline and budget.” Specifically, the Task Force was asked to address how to prevent, mitigate, and respond to incidents of campus violence and threats, both internal and external. This phase of the Task Force’s work was to be completed by August 1, 2007.
As a second phase, President Nietzel asked the Task Force to conduct a “broader review of campus emergency policies and procedures to include: tornadoes and severe weather; fire; bomb threats; and earthquakes.” This emphasis is to expand and build upon the work done during the initial phase. The Task Force is to make its recommendations to the President on the second phase by December 1, 2007.
Members of the Task Force are:
Mr. Ken McClure, Administrative Services, Chair
Mr. Odie Blakely, Student
Mr. Andrew Garton, Student
Lieutenant Ron Hartman, Springfield Police Department*
Major Steve Ijames, Springfield Police Department*
Mr. Mike Jungers, Student Affairs
Dr. Tommy Burnett, Faculty
Mr. Tim Kilpatrick, Telecommunications
Dr. Bernie McCarthy, Center for Community and Social Issues
Mr. Manny Salas-Abarca, Student
Mr. Gary Snavely, Safety and Transportation
Mr. Gary Stewart, Residential Life
Dr. Lorene Stone, Dean, College of Humanities and Public Affairs
Ms. Paula Wilhelm, Human Resources
*Lieutenant Hartman joined the Task Force upon the retirement of Major Ijames
Mrs. Teresa Steele, Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President for Administrative Services, provided staff support to the Task Force.
Mr. Dale Moore, University Facilities Analyst, provided assistance to the Task Force and also served on a subcommittee.
The Task Force opted to form into subcommittees in order to do much of its work. This allowed for a more detailed review and analysis of all issues. Others were invited to be a part of these subcommittees.
The subcommittees and their participants are:
Building and Door Access Procedures
Dr. Bernie McCarthy
Faculty, Staff and Student Awareness
Dr. Tommy Burnett
Dr. Lorene Stone
Relationship to Law Enforcement
Lt. Ron Hartman
The Task Force expresses its sincere appreciation to all who participated in subcommittee deliberations.
The Task Force’s initial meeting was held on Monday, May 7, 2007. Subsequent meetings were held on May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, July 23 and July 30 of 2007. In addition, each subcommittee met frequently throughout the process.
At the May 7 meeting, each member of the Task Force was provided a copy of the University’s existing “Emergency Response Plan.” This document, prepared and compiled by the Department of Safety and Transportation, provides a thorough emergency operations blueprint which deals with the following types of crises: armed assailant, bomb threat, civil disorder, death of a student, death of a faculty or staff member, death of a member of the public, earthquake/building collapse, fire and explosion, hazardous chemical release, hostage situations, mass casualties, severe weather including tornadoes, utility failure, and workplace violence. A separate tab includes a discussion on appropriate actions to take in the event of a hostile intruder. This document has served and continues to serve the University well. The recommendations of the Task Force are intended to augment, where necessary, the Plan’s guidelines and to suggest additional actions that can be taken which will serve to increase the safety and security of the campus community.