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Issuing an emergency notification or timely warning

Overview

Under the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), Augustana College must issue Emergency Notifications and Timely Warnings to the campus community in certain circumstances, as discussed below.   Throughout this document, Emergency Notifications and Timely Warnings may be collectively referred to as “Alerts.”   

Responsible Official

The College’s Chief of Police is generally responsible for making the final decision regarding the issuance of an Alert and the content thereof.  During the decision-making process, the Chief of Police will consult with other College officials and departments, including, but not limited to, the Office of the Dean of Students and Office of Public Relations, as necessary to make an informed decision.   Questions or comments about the Policy should be directed to the Chief of Police for resolution.

Situations Necessitating an Alert

Emergency Notifications

An Emergency Notification will be issued when the Chief of Police or his or her designee has been made aware of and confirmed that there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on the College’s campus that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of members of the campus community.  Some examples of situations that would necessitate an Emergency Notification include, but are not limited to, the following: large fire in a building; approaching tornado or other extreme weather conditions; gas leak; terrorist incident; active shooter; bomb threat; explosion; and chemical spill. 

Once information about an emergency or dangerous situation has been received, the Chief of Police will take steps to confirm the existence of the situation.  Once confirmed, the Chief of Police or his or her designee will determine who should be notified (the entire campus community or only a segment thereof), and will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of the Chief of Police or other authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency. The Dean of Students Office is also involved in the decision to notify the community, including the content of any such notice.

Timely Warnings

A Timely Warning will be issued when the Chief of Police or the Dean of Students, or their  designee, has been made aware of a Clery crime (as described below) occurring on the College’s Clery Geography (as described below) that is considered to represent a serious or continuing threat to members of the campus community.   

Clery crimes include the following offenses:

Category Types of Offenses
Primary Criminal Offenses Murder/Non-Negligent Manslaughter; Manslaughter by Negligence; Rape; Fondling; Incest; Statutory Rape; Robbery; Aggravated Assault; Burglary; Motor Vehicle Theft; and Arson
Hate Crimes

A hate crime is a criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator's bias against the victim. For Clery Act purposes:

  • Hate crimes include the primary criminal offenses listed above (except Manslaughter by Negligence) plus: Larceny-Theft; Simple Assault; Intimidation; and Destruction/Damage/Vandalism to Property.
  • The eight categories of bias that may result in a hate crime being reported are as follows: race, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, or disability.
VAWA Offenses Dating Violence; Domestic Violence; and Stalking
Arrests and Disciplinary Referrals The number of arrests and the number of persons referred for disciplinary action for the following law violations: Drug Abuse Violations; Liquor Law Violations; and Weapons: Carrying, Possessing, Etc.

The College’s Clery Geography consists of the following:

  • On-campus property (including on-campus student housing facilities)
  • Certain public property that is immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus or is within the campus
  • Certain non-campus property that is owned or controlled by the College or owned and controlled by an officially recognized student organization.
  • Though not required by the Clery Act, a warning may also be issued in circumstances where the Chief of Police or his or her designee, in his/her discretion, believes criminal activity on or near campus poses a serious or continuing threat to the campus community, even if the criminal activity is technically not a Clery crime and/or did not occur on the College’s Clery Geography (e.g., a kidnapping on campus or a series of robberies in a private parking lot across the street from campus).   These warnings are referred to as “Community Safety Alerts.”

When determining whether a Timely Warning or Community Safety Alert should be issued, the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, will consider the following factors in light of the unique facts of the particular situation:

  • The nature of the crime;
  • The continuing danger to the campus community; and
  • The possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts. 

Timely Warnings will be issued as soon as pertinent information is available. 

Determining Who Will Be Notified 

Emergency Notifications

When it has been determined that an Emergency Notification will be issued, it will typically be sent to the entire campus community.  However, the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, may determine that only a segment of the campus community must be notified in a particular situation (e.g., if there is a gas leak in an administrative building during a holiday break when the College is closed, a determination may be made that only employees will be notified of the situation). 

Timely Warnings

When it has been determined that a Timely Warning will be issued, it will be sent to the entire campus community.  

Content of the Alert

In general, personally identifiable information (PII) will not be included in an Alert.  However, the College may, in appropriate circumstances, include PII.  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and its implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 99.36, allow PII to be released in emergency situations. 

Emergency Notifications

The content of an Emergency Notification will, at minimum, include pertinent information about the emergency or dangerous situation and, if deemed necessary, guidance as to whether campus community members should shelter in place or evacuate their location.  The notification may also provide other brief information about the situation if warranted, though caution will be taken to not issue such a lengthy notification that it cannot be quickly understood by recipients.  Examples of Emergency Notifications are as follows:  

  • CAMPUS ALERT 2/1/17 11:21 a.m. – Fire in Tredway Library.  Evacuate Immediately!  Avoid the area.  Updates will be provided when more information is available. 
  • CAMPUS ALERT 2/2/18 8:42 p.m. – Tornadoes spotted near Rock Island.  Take shelter and avoid driving.  Updates will be provided when more information is available.

Timely Warnings

The content of a Timely Warning will, at minimum, include pertinent information about the crime that triggered the warning (i.e., type of crime and a description of where it occurred).  The warning may also provide other brief information about the situation if warranted, though caution will be taken to not issue such a lengthy warning that it cannot be quickly understood by recipients.  An example of a Timely Warning is as follows:

  • CAMPUS ALERT 2/3/18 3:03 p.m. – An armed robbery was reported outside of Westerlin Hall.  Perpetrator was a white male with a gray hoodie.  Perpetrator has not been apprehended.  Be cautious! Updates will be provided when more information is available. 

Methods for Issuing an Alert

When it is determined that an Alert should be issued to the campus community, one or more of the following methods will be utilized so that the Alert is likely to reach the entire campus community (or the intended segment thereof):

Method Brief Description Sign-Up Instructions
e2Campus Text messaging to campus community All students and employees are required to sign up for e2Campus. To sign up or to update contact information, go to: https://www.augustana.edu/student-life/augie-alerts
Siren Audio alerts to notify the entire campus community N/A
Email Alerts may be sent to the official College email accounts of student and employees All students and employees are automatically provided with College email accounts when they begin
Posting Notifications on Bulletin Boards and Other Locations At the direction of the Chief of Police, members of the College Police Department may post hard copy notices in various locations around campus N/A

Updating the Alert

After an Alert has been issued, the Chief of Police and the Dean of Students Office will consider whether a follow-up Alert needs to be communicated to the campus community about the situation.  If it is determined that a follow-up Alert is necessary, it will be made using one or more of the methods described above.  

Notifying Outside Parties

After an Alert has been issued, the Chief of Police may determine that local law enforcement agencies and/or local media outlets should be made aware of the circumstances that resulted in the Alert being issued.  If deemed necessary, the Chief of Police will take steps to ensure this occurs.