Santa Clara University

SCU for Family and Friends

Safety Q&A

Does Santa Clara University have established emergency procedures, protocols, and plans? Yes. The easiest and quickest way to access emergency preparedness information is through the University's Web site.

What is contained in the University's Emergency Procedures Handbook? The handbook is designed to assist members of the campus community with reporting and dealing with emergency situations appropriately. The handbook focuses on addressing the most common emergencies that occurred in the past and those most likely to occur in the future.

Do all students know about emergency procedures and policies? Realistically, probably not all students know, but a focused effort called e-PREP'd was initiated in the fall of 2006, teaching students ways to prepare themselves and their surroundings for emergencies. Much of the emphasis has been on the more likely scenarios—earthquakes, fires, power outages, etc. Students living in residence halls are educated when they first move in about the university's expectations and their personal responsibilities in case of an emergency, especially one requiring a building evacuation.

What are the messages and themes provided to students regarding personal safety? Several consistent messages are provided throughout the year, including:

  • Wherever you are, your personal safety is paramount. Avoid placing yourself in harm's way.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Report suspicious behavior to the City of Santa Clara Police Department by dialing 911, or to Campus Safety Services at 554-4444.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Treat others with civility. Avoid confrontational behaviors.
  • Guard against theft by locking your doors and windows, especially at night when sleeping or while you are away.
  • Lock the door behind you after entering your home (apartment, house, or residence hall).
  • Avoid lending your keys, ACCESS card, or valuables to others.
  • Don't let other people follow you into your residence hall.

In case of an emergency, what is the University’s source of official information? In these situations, special messages and official reports will be available online at, the University’s home page. If an emergency causes all technology to go down, a remote server, out of the area, will be utilized to continue providing information at the address.

What can students do right now to ensure they will receive accurate and official university communications? All students should continuously update their eCampus accounts with their current contact information. We recommend checking at the beginning of every quarter.

What should parents and students do to get connected with Santa Clara University? Parents can regularly visit the university Web site for everyday campus news (and the most current information in an emergency) and encourage their students to keep eCampus and other contact information up to date. Students should update eCampus information, accept all of their responsibilities as active campus community members (e.g., be concerned for safety and take any drills seriously) and read all available information on emergency preparedness.

How is evolving technology being used in communicating with students? The University recently purchased the technology to allow emergency notifications to all campus community members. SCU Campus Alert technology allows us to send simultaneous cell phone, text messaging, and e-mail communications to all students, faculty, and staff in the notification database. This system is expected to be operational by June and fully functioning by the beginning of the 2007-08 academic year. Look for additional information about SCU Campus Alert soon.

What is Connect-ED? This is a product by NTI Group built exclusively for post-secondary institutions; the Connect-ED service allows campus leaders and security professionals to send time-sensitive notifications to thousands of people in minutes. Connect ED is the system which supports SCU Campus Alert.

Does the campus use cameras for security purposes? Yes. Cameras are currently located in our parking structures, Casa Italiana and Bellarmine residence halls, the Leavey Events Center, Schott Stadium, the Interim Library, and the Facilities building; additional cameras will be placed in the interior and exterior of the new Learning Commons & Library (under construction) and the Leavey School of Business (soon to be under construction).

Are there emergency phones around campus? Yes. There are 30 public "blue light" phones around campus, providing individuals with immediate access to Campus Safety Services during emergencies.

Are classrooms equipped for "lock down?" Not all classrooms can be locked from inside the room. Each classroom has a telephone, but most classroom doors have "panic bars" (required by code) which are "dogged down" with an allen wrench on a daily basis by Campus Safety Services. Our ability to "secure in place" during campus emergencies will be one of the many items coming under review.

Does the University practice or rehearse for emergencies? Yes, in two ways. (1) Quarterly residence halls evacuation practices (i.e., fire alarm drills). These serve two purposes: to ensure that all safety equipment (audible alarms and strobe lighting) is working properly, and to remind students of their responsibilities during an emergency. (2) The University's Emergency Operation Center (EOC) practices simulations or "table top" exercises. However, to date the campus has not practiced drills related to the type of incident that occurred at Virginia Tech.

Could Santa Clara University be a possible target for such a tragedy? Unfortunately, yes. Like nearly all campuses, people can come and go freely. One preventative measure is for all campus members to be diligent in reporting activity and potential incidents to the proper authorities.

Are there other plans in place to deal with someone who has a gun? The responsibility for dealing with an incident of this nature falls upon the City of Santa Clara's Police Department. The Chiefs of Police and Sheriff have adopted a county-wide protocol called the "Active Shooter Protocol," which is employed in the following situations:

  • When ongoing acts of violence are taking place.
  • The situation is not conducive to negotiations.
  • Where the acts of violence are the objective.
  • Where the crime scene cannot be contained and lives continue to be threatened.

The protocol was developed as a result of the Columbine High School shootings and a planned attack at nearby De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif., in 2001.

If Santa Clara University is dependent upon the response of the City of Santa Clara's Police Department, then how close is the police department to the campus? The city's police headquarters are directly across the street from the main entrance to the University. In addition, mutual aid agreements with surrounding jurisdictions provide additional law enforcement and emergency resources to any situation at SCU.

Do students know the right person or organization to contact if they have suspicions about others? The message to students is consistent: If you are ever in doubt or suspicious, contact Campus Safety Services, the City of Santa Clara Police Department, the Counseling Center, and/or the Office of Student Life.

Is there a coordinated University evacuation plan? Yes. In an effort to increase the safety of the campus community, the University recently underwent a complete evaluation of fire and life safety needs. One outcome of the evaluations was the creation of new evacuation maps.

Does the campus have emergency backup utilities? The campus communication systems have emergency backup power and will continue to function unless there is physical damage to the systems or to off-campus telecommunications networks. Almost all campus buildings and all residence hall buildings have generators that provide for Fire & Life Safety needs.

What has the University done recently to increase safety of campus?

  • Residence Halls: Both Campisi and Swig halls are now beings staffed on a 24-hour basis. Cameras record all activity at entrances and only certain doors are available for entry between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Bellomy Field Lights: Lighting has been added to the perimeter jogging path surrounding Bellomy Field. These lights are turned on when the other, larger pole lights on the field are not operating, turning off at midnight and coming back on at 6 a.m. There is a new blue emergency phone on the south side of Bellomy Field.
  • Library Construction: Additional walkway lighting has been installed at the library construction site, in particular on the south walkway between the construction site and the Graham Residence Hall Complex, as well as in the area surrounding the interim library location just east of the Parking Structure.
  • Pedestrian Signal: The City of Santa Clara has nearly completed the construction and installation of a traffic signal at the corner of Lafayette and Santa Clara Streets.

What other sources of information are available? For local area information, refer to the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services. For national preparedness, a good resource is the American Red Cross.

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