Missouri State University

Emergency Notifications and Timely Warnings

Policy statement

Emergency Notifications will be issued in response to a significant emergency or a dangerous situation, either on campus or, in some cases, off campus that, in the judgment of the University, constitutes an immediate, imminent, or impending threat to the health or safety of members of the University Community.

Timely warnings will be issued in response to reported crimes committed either on campus or, in some cases, off campus that, in the judgment of the University, constitutes a serious or continuing threat to members of the University community.

Reason or purpose for policy

The Missouri State University Department of Safety and Transportation is responsible for issuing emergency notifications and timely warnings in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, and the Jeanne Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f) and the purpose of this policy is to set forth the procedures by which the University shall provide an emergency notification or timely warning to the University Community in the event that a significant emergency or dangerous situation is reported to the Department of Safety and Transportation that poses an immediate, imminent, or impending threat to members of the University Community; or a crime is reported to the Department of Safety and Transportation or local police authorities that constitute a serious or continuing threat to members of the University community.

  1. Procedure for Issuing emergency notifications:
    1. Anyone with information believed to warrant an emergency notification should promptly report the circumstances to the MSU Department of Safety and Transportation by phone at 417-836-5509.  Emergency notifications are considered for the following types of incidents:  severe weather, hazardous chemical or hazardous material spills, violent intruder, significant outbreak of illness, flood, fire, earthquake, gas leak, bomb threat, terrorist incident, explosion, or any other circumstance that may constitute an immediate threat to the university community.
    2. The Director of Safety and Transportation or his designee shall confer with the appropriate public and university officials responsible for managing the emergency and decide whether an emergency notification shall be issued.
    3. The decision to issue an emergency notification shall be made on a case-by-case basis after consideration of the available facts, including factors such as the nature of the emergency and the continuing danger or risk to the campus community.
    4. Every attempt will be made to issue the notification as soon as possible after the incident is reported to Department of Safety and Transportation; however, the release is subject to the availability of accurate facts concerning the incident. The Director of the Department Safety and Transportation or his designee shall make contact with initial responders to ascertain information sufficient to confirm the actual existence of a legitimate emergency.
    5. If the determination is made that an emergency notification shall be issued, the Director of the  Department of Safety and Transportation, or his designee, shall confer with the appropriate public and university officials and make a determination who needs to be notified, and what the content of the notification should be.  This determination shall be made giving consideration to what members of the community may be endangered by the emergency, who else may be affected by it, and what information it is appropriate to communicate to them.
    6. Once the message is prepared, the Director of the Department of Safety and Transportation, or his designee, shall without delay, initiate the notification system.  The notification may be distributed in one or more of the following methods:
      1. MSU’s mass notification system “Missouri State Alert,” including phone, campus e-mail, or text messaging.  Members must sign up for this service, and can do so at the MSU Department of Safety and Transportation website, http://www.missouristate.edu/safetran/missouristatealert.htm.
      2. Mass telephone notification
      3. Mass email notification
      4. Audio/visual message board
      5. MSU web pages: www.my.missouristate.edu and www.missouristate.edu/safetran/
      6. Press release to local media outlets
      7. Use of MSU media outlets
      8. Emergency storm sirens
      9. Campus public address systems
      10. Vehicle mounted or handheld loudspeakers
      11. Posting within residence halls, student union, or other locations
      12. Door–to-door notification in residence halls;
      13. Other means appropriate under the circumstances.
    7. The content of an emergency notification should include the following information if appropriate:
      1. A statement as to what the emergency or dangerous situation is, in specific terms.
      2. A statement providing direction as to what actions the receiver of the message should take to ensure their own safety.
      3. A statement as to where or when additional information may be obtained
    8. Testing of the Emergency Notification System should be done at least once annually.  Different components shall be tested on an individual basis to ensure the capability to use that specific communication method in an emergency.  The tests shall be planned and performed by the Director of the Department of Safety and Transportation, or his designee.   These tests may be announced or unannounced; however, at least one will be publicized in conjunction with the University’s emergency response and evacuation procedures.
      1. Each test will be documented to include a description of the exercise, the date of the test, the start and end times of the test, and whether the test was announced or unannounced.
  2. Procedure for issuing timely warnings:
    1. Anyone with information believed to warrant an emergency notification or timely warning should promptly report the circumstances to the MSU Department of Safety and Transportation by phone at 417-836-5509.  Timely warnings are considered for the following classifications of reported crimes: criminal homicide, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, hate crimes, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson, as outlined in 34 CFR 668.46. Timely warnings may also be issued for other reported crimes as deemed appropriate under the circumstances. The decision will be made in compliance with the Clery Act and in an effort to prevent similar crimes from occurring.
    2. The Director of Safety and Transportation or his designee shall confer with the Dean of Students or his designee and decide whether a timely warning shall be issued. In the event a consensus cannot be reached, the Director of Safety and Transportation shall make the decision, subject to an appeal to the Vice President for Administrative and Information Services or, in his absence, the Vice President for Student Affairs.
    3. The decision to issue a timely warning shall be made on a case-by-case basis after consideration of the available facts, including factors such as the nature of the crime, the continuing danger or risk to the campus community, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.
    4. Every attempt will be made to issue the warning as soon as possible after the incident is reported to Department of Safety and Transportation; however, the release is subject to the availability of accurate and pertinent facts concerning the incident.
    5. If the determination is made that a timely warning shall be issued, the Department of Safety and Transportation shall inform the University community by one or more of the following means, depending on the circumstances of the situation:
      1. MSU’s mass notification system “Missouri State Alert,” including phone, campus e-mail, or text messaging.  Members must sign up for this service, and can do so at the MSU Department of Safety and Transportation website, http://www.missouristate.edu/safetran/missouristatealert.htm
      2. Mass telephone notification
      3. Mass email notification;
      4. Audio/visual message boards;
      5. MSU web pages: www.my.missouristate.edu and www.missouristate.edu/safetran/;
      6. Press release to local media outlets
      7. Use of MSU media outlets
      8. Door–to-door notification in residence halls;
      9. Posting within residence halls, student union, or other locations
      10. Other means appropriate under the circumstances. 
    6. The timely warning notice shall not only contain the circumstances regarding the crime or incident, but it shall also contain additional information to help promote safety and, where appropriate, the means to avoid similar crimes. Timely warning notices shall typically include the following information, if known:
      1. A succinct statement of the incident, including the nature and severity of the threat and locations or persons who might be affected;
      2. Any connection to previous incidents;
      3. Physical description of suspect and/or vehicle;
      4. Date and time the warning was released;
      5. Other relevant and important information, such as any bias, motive, the gender of the victim, and/or student/non-student status; and/or
      6. Appropriate safety tips.

Entities affected by this policy

All entities and members of the University community.