For Immediate Release: April 15, 2008
BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, along with colleges and universities nationwide, took steps to enhance campus security following last April’s tragedy at Virginia Tech. At BU, the year’s efforts resulted in a new emergency notification system, increased building security and training sessions on personal safety.
“President Charles Steger and the entire Virginia Tech community have designated April 16 as a day of remembrance for the 32 people who lost their lives a year ago,” said BU President David Soltz. “We join with them in spirit this week and honor the memory of those who died by pledging to do all that we can to ensure the safety and security of the members of our campus community in Bloomsburg.”
Tested earlier this month, the emergency notification system allows messages to be sent quickly via e-mail, phone and text messages. Test results show 13,968 successful deliveries by phone and a total of 5,758 text messages and 8,651 e-mails sent, according to Bill Barnes from BU’s Office of Technology.
Students were enrolled in the system when they registered electronically for classes and nearly 500 BU faculty and staff signed up to receive messages when registration opened to them in mid-March. The system, available only to students, faculty and staff with official Bloomsburg University e-mail addresses, will be used solely in case of a life-threatening emergency. A final component of the system, two sirens, will be installed on campus this summer to alert students, faculty and staff to check for messages.
The circumstances surrounding the Virginia Tech shootings also prompted increased security measures inside BU’s buildings. For extra security, classrooms and laboratories may now be locked from inside, entrance to all residence halls is by ID card-access only and enhanced safety measures are in place for campus events.
The university also sponsored active shooter training last fall, presented by retired Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Paul Mendofik, an instructor with the Public Agency Training Council. During the workshops for the campus community, Mendofik stressed the steps needed for survival if someone is shooting a weapon at BU.
These initiatives build on those already in place on campus, including emergency call boxes and continuous patroling by the university’s 17 commissioned police officers who work closely with the Town of Bloomsburg’s professional police force. BU also continues to post emergency closures and other important information on the Web site,
www.bloomu.edu/today; the BeSAFe Hotline, (570) 389-2723; and on these local radio and TV stations: WNEP-TV (16), WBRE-TV (28), WYOU-TV (22), WFYY-FM (106.5), WHLM-AM (930) and WKOK-AM (1070).
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.