Campus News

Upcoming symposium will focus on safety during emergencies

“Responding to Emergencies on Campus: UGA and You,” a symposium on campus security, is scheduled for 8:30-11:30 a.m. Sept. 11 in the Chapel. The event is sponsored by the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Center for International Trade and Security. It is open free to the public.

Marking the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the program, held during the fourth annual National Preparedness Month, features administrators, professors and security professionals who will discuss measures that individuals and first responders can take to handle emergencies.

Whether an emergency strikes during home or office hours, knowing how the university plans to respond and how you can respond can ease the process, according to John Newton, emergency operations coordinator in OSEP.

“Nobody wants to think about an emergency until it happens, and by then it’s too late,” Newton said. “People who come can learn about how the university and the Athens community are going to respond to an emergency on campus. They also can ask questions or offer suggestions about our plans.”

Security on college campuses received national attention in 2007 following the shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech that claimed more than 30 lives. In response, UGA President Michael F. Adams commissioned two committees to assess campus security and readiness and psychological services protocols.

Kathy Pharr, assistant vice president for finance and administration, chaired the committee on emergency preparedness and communications. At the symposium, she will present an update on the progress that has been made on the preparedness front over the past year.

Steve Harris, director of the security and emergency preparedness office, will speak on “Trends in Emergency Preparedness” including what other higher education institutions are doing to better prepare and respond to campus emergencies.

UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson will speak on “What to Expect from the UGA Police.” While his talk centers on specifics, the implications are wide-ranging, he said.

Individuals will learn about strategies for handling emergencies from Trina von Waldner, a public service associate in the College of Pharmacy.

Igor Khripunov, a research professional at the Center for International Trade and Security, will speak on “Creating a Security Culture on Campus.” Following his talk, time will be provided for general discussion and questions.

The event is part of the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness’ Academic-Professional Security Series.