After the recent shooting deaths of nine students at a community college in Oregon, campus security plans adopted by many colleges and universities after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech have come under new scrutiny. Here’s a look at some of the basic standards in the University System of Maryland’s policy on campus emergency planning in the event of an active shooter or other emergencies. The system has 12 institutions, including the state’s flagship university: the University of Maryland, College Park.
Each institution must have an emergency preparedness plan developed by a campus committee that represents staff, students and faculty. The committee must meet regularly to update the plan and address new types of threats. It must be guided by top-level leadership university leadership and reflect institutional characteristics such as location, size and population.
The colleges and universities must coordinate with local and state emergency responders.
Institutions must have a communication plan to advise the campus community of an emergency.
The plan calls a permanent multi-disciplinary behavioral assessment team to review reports and take appropriate action on potentially distressed or disturbed members of the campus community, including students, staff and faculty.
Plans undergo an annual risk assessment that reviews a comprehensive range of threats, including natural disasters, pandemic diseases, terrorism and violent crime. Plans are to be updated annually.
The plans are to be regularly tested.
Maryland’s 16 community colleges fall under the oversight of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Each campus is required to have an alert system, and plans are shared with faculty staff and students.