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Results and Recommendations of the President's Working Group Report on Emergency Preparedness

October 10, 2007

To the Campus Community:

Following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech last spring, Cal State Northridge, like other universities across the nation, has evaluated campus security and is undertaking enhancements in response to what people have learned from the Virginia Tech experience. It is our intent to do everything we can to provide a safe and secure campus with the realization that absolute safety and security can never be guaranteed.

We sought input from the campus community, and established a working group to study the lessons learned and the recommendations made by various experts.

Cal State Northridge has historically placed a high priority on emergency preparedness and response, having learned many valuable lessons from the Northridge earthquake in 1994.

Still, the Virginia Tech tragedy motivated us to take a fresh look at what we are doing, and how we might improve. In addition to reviewing Cal State Northridge’s present preparedness, the working group made a number of recommendations that are currently being implemented.

  • The group was satisfied that we have an excellent campus Emergency Operations Plan in place – one which is an “all hazards” approach to emergency situations. Access to the information contained in this plan is now being enhanced by creation of desk references tailored to students, faculty, and staff. Further information on emergency preparedness is available from the link “Emergency Information” at the bottom of the campus home webpage ( or at
  • Over the past few years, many of our campus departments and colleges have developed or updated their department Emergency Action Plans. I recently gave a directive to the division vice presidents that all departments must develop emergency action plans by December 2008. The Department of Public Safety provides a template and training for developing your plan.
  • The Department of Public Safety has created a Threat Management Unit to help university officials evaluate the dangers posed by persons whose behaviors may raise concern or alarm in other members of the campus community. Also, selected personnel from Student Affairs, University Counseling Services, and Public Safety now meet regularly to collaborate on appropriate steps when student behavior is of concern or appears to pose a danger to self or others.
  • The Division of Information Technology and the Department of Public Safety are collaborating to implement a mass communication system (Connect-ED), capable of delivering emergency messages simultaneously to phone numbers and email addresses, for all students, faculty, and staff. The system has already undergone preliminary tests with selected segments of the campus community. Further tests with staff, faculty, and students will take place over the coming months. Please take a moment to update your phone numbers and email addresses through the campus web portal, myNorthridge. In case of emergency it is vitally important that the service has your up-to-date contact information.
    • To verify and update your phone and emergency contact information:

             Faculty and Staff instructions:

      • Log on to the myNorthridge portal.
      • In the Faculty or Staff home pages, look for the pagelet called “Emergency Information.” (If you do not see it displayed, add it through the “Personalize” link. It is listed under “Pagelets for Everyone.”)
      • In the “Emergency Information” pagelet, click on “Update my Personal Info.”
      • To change your phone numbers, click on “change phone numbers” and make changes. Save by clicking on the save button.
      • To change emergency contacts, click on “change emergency contacts” make changes. Save by clicking on the save button.

             Student instructions:

      • Log on to the myNorthridge portal.
      • In the Student home page, look for the “My Path to Graduation” pagelet.
      • Click on “Student Center (SOLAR).”
      • Scroll down to “Personal Information.”
      • To change your phone numbers, click on the phone link and make changes. Save by clicking on the save button.
      • To change your emergency contacts, click on the emergency contact link and make changes. Save by clicking on the save button.
    • To update your Mirapoint email forwarding information (faculty and students): If you choose to automatically forward your CSUN Mirapoint email to a personal email account (such as g-mail or hotmail), make sure your forwarding information is kept up-to-date. To update the forwarding information:

  • The campus Carillon, which provides clock chimes and is used to play music on the main campus, is operational for emergency notification under the control of Public Safety. We are working to extend this service to the residence hall area.
  • For further redundancy of emergency communication, Information Technology is evaluating software that can leverage the current VoIP office telephones for contacting personnel during an emergency. For example, office phones might act as loudspeakers and/or provide text messaging in the phone display.
  • The Department of Public Safety is available to provide security surveys of office spaces and make recommendations for improvements or reconfigurations to enhance security. There is no charge for this service. Personnel in the colleges who want to take advantage of this service should request it through their college dean. Others should make their requests through their division vice president.
  • Facilities Planning and Physical Plant Management are examining ways to improve navigation and way-finding on campus for external entities aiding in emergency response.
  • The Department of Public Safety will collaborate with Student Affairs and Human Resources to provide information to students, faculty, and staff on what an individual can and should do if s/he perceives a threat or encounters a threatening situation. We continue to consider appropriate vehicles and venues to deliver this training.

Jolene Koester

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California State University, Northridge at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330 / Phone: 818-677-1200 / © 2006 CSU Northridge