The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Campus violence prevention

What constitutes a campus-wide alert?
Great Lawn, photo taken by Savannah Dunn

Questions about campus safety often arise as different events happen and rumors spread. With those rumors come discourse on what Christopher Newport University chooses to notify students about and why or why not. 

An email was sent out to students, faculty, and employees of CNU regarding the Campus Violence Prevention Policy on Feb. 7. In this email, Campus Violence Prevention Committee (CVPC) co-chairs, Kaite Welbrock with Student Affairs and Ashleigh Andrews, Chief People Officer, explained the purpose of the CVPC. They describe the CVPC as “a group of professionals from across the University who are tasked with educating the community about efforts to prevent physical violence on campus.” This group is one of the first to receive word whenever something suspicious is happening on campus, and it is their job to analyze the situation and decide whether or not the entire campus population needs to be notified.

Welbrock and Andrews reassured those reading the email that CNU PD is a constant presence on campus and that “they have extensive training to respond to a variety of reports.”  Reports that the university receives are then shared directly with the officers on duty who go on to investigate the situation. However, not all reports call for the entirety of campus to be notified as there is no active threat to safety.  

According to the email, an active threat to safety might include “Natural disasters, fires or accidents, and major acts of violence.” As for rumors about threats to safety, the campus community is encouraged to trust that they will be notified in the event of an emergency through the CNU Alert system. Wellbrock and Andrews emphasized, “Using this approach to messaging lets you know that we will send messages to help you protect yourself in the event of an emergency; if there is no emergency, you will not receive a message.” 

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Last Spring, The Captain’s Log interviewed Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Hughes about a situation that brought similar questions as the ones answered in last week’s email. In the article titled “Campus Threat Assessment Team,” Hughes said, “We gather all the information that we have and then we determine: do we have an active threat or not, what’s going on with the situation, what do we need to do to respond to the community, and what do we need to do to respond to the particular individual.”

Overall, the university continues to communicate with students “what it means if you don’t receive a message,” and attempts to provide clarity over the confusion surrounding the circumstances involved with sending out campus-wide messages. Wellbrock and Andrews strongly urge those who have not signed up for the CNU Alert system to do so as soon as possible in case a situation does call for a campus-wide alert.

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Savannah Dunn, News Editor
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