Emergency text messaging system set for BU, Trustees learn

For immediate release: Sept. 5, 2007

BLOOMSBURG — Last spring’s tragedy at Virginia Tech prompted increased safety measures at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, President Jessica Kozloff told the Council of Trustees during the Sept. 5 quarterly meeting.

A study group headed by Richard Rugen, BU’s vice president for administration and finance, looked at the university’s communications methods and, as a result, BU has purchased a $22,000 text messaging system to quickly send emergency messages to cell phones and e-mail, she said. Two sirens will be installed on campus to alert students, faculty and staff to check for messages.

In response to faculty members’ request, she said locks are being changed so classrooms and laboratories may be locked from the inside, and a safety consultant will provide training on steps to take if a shooter is active on campus. Later this semester, Kozloff will attend a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education summit on campus security focusing on mental health issues.

The president also outlined BU’s 2008-09 budget request, based on guidelines provided by PASSHE. The budget request, showing revenue of nearly $107 million and expenditures of about $110.8 million, was approved by the Trustees and will be forwarded to PASSHE. Information from the budget requests from BU and the other 13 State System universities will be used as a basis for PASSHE’s overall tuition and appropriations requests, Kozloff said.

In other business, Preston Herring, vice president of university and student affairs, reported that BU welcomed 1,335 new freshmen this fall – 43 more than one year ago – and 405 new transfer students – up 40 students from last year. BU received 9,783 applications for spots in the freshman class, 876 more than a year ago, he added.

Jim Hollister, assistant vice president for university relations, and Maryann Lindberg, executive director of the Bloomsburg University Foundation, reported to the Trustees on successful fundraising efforts that have seen an increase in financial donations from $2.4 million annually three years ago to $4 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007. Stressing the importance of raising private funds to support scholarships, student projects, faculty research and related items, Lindberg said total assets of the Foundation, a separate entity that provides financial support to BU, have increased 45 percent over the past three years to $15 million, the endowment is up 43 percent to $11 million and revenues have increased 59 percent to $4 million.

The Trustees also:

  • Approved the annual donation of $38,000 to the Bloomsburg Fire Department, as well as the fourth of eight contributions of $25,000 in support of the fire department’s ladder truck. “This is a good example of how, cooperatively, we can solve problems when we work together,” said Bloomsburg Mayor Claude Renninger.
  • Presented a resolution honoring local veterinarian Dr. Larry Smith and Columbia County Commissioner David Kovach for creating the Columbia-Montour Animal Response Team (C.A.R.T.) and establishing an emergency animal shelter, Annie’s Place, at BU’s campus.
  • Voted to continue the Husky Research Corp. (HRC) as an affiliated organization. HRC submits grant proposals, administers contracts and promotes research activities at BU. The annual action certifies HRC’s compliance with state regulations.
  • Heard a construction update from Eric Milner, assistant vice president for administration, who said both the Academic Quad and the addition to McCormick Center for Human Services should be completed by Homecoming, Oct. 20; finishing touches remain on the lower level of the Warren Student Services Center addition; and the Ben Franklin Hall renovation should be completed in November.
  • Welcomed new student Trustee James D’Amico, a senior elementary education major from Mount Carmel.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.