Emergencies, Health, Safety, & Security

The University is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe environment in our residential communities, while respecting and preserving individual rights to privacy. In order to manage this delicate balance, the University has developed policies and procedures with which all residents should be familiar.

The following are expectations regarding the use of personal and University facilities, as they relate to health and safety issues. The University recognizes that these policies may cause individual inconvenience. The policies are intended to protect the health and welfare of the larger community.


University staff reserves the right to confiscate property/equipment that potentially constitutes a threat to health and safety, and/or has contributed unnecessarily to an environmental disturbance or a violation of policy. Examples include, but are not limited to: alcohol containers, candles, incense, paraphernalia, pets, weapons/ammunition, stereos, sports equipment, etc. If it is necessary for property to be confiscated, it may or may not be returned at the time a student is able to take it home.

Extension Cords/Surge Protectors 

Multiple plug bar outlets with a circuit breaker, or “surge protector” power strips are recommended for computers and other sensitive electronic equipment. The University is not responsible for electrical surges, interruptions or damage that occurs as a result.

Medical Waste 

This policy applies to students who self-administer medication including, but not limited to, insulin, shots for clotting factors, etc. Students are required to dispose of all needles and syringes in a medical waste container, provided at no charge by the Birkam Health Center. The medical waste container must be returned to the Health Center by the student when it becomes full, and/or at the end of each term (whichever comes first). Students needing assistance obtaining or returning containers are encouraged to contact the Birkam Health Center.

Windows and Screens/Freezing Pipes 

Pipes may freeze and break if a window is left open and/or the heat is turned off during cold weather. Residents will be held responsible for any loss or damages that result from such negligence.

Smoke Detectors 

To enhance the safety and well being of all students, the University has installed smoke detectors in each room, suite, and apartment.


When fire alarms are activated, all occupants must evacuate the building. When evacuating, occupants should take the following action:

  • Turn lights on
  • Close windows and doors
  • Open curtains
  • Wear shoes, a long coat and carry a large towel
  • Lock the room door
  • Walk quickly out of the building
  • Remain more than 100 feet from the building

Residents must wait outside the building until a member of the staff indicates they may return. Failure to evacuate during a fire alarm is a serious violation of University policy.

Severe Weather 

Understanding the terminology used in cases of inclement weather is important. Please take note of the procedures used for safety.

  1. Tornado Watch - Used to alert the public to the possibility that a tornado may develop. The size of a watch area is approximately 100 miles wide and 300 miles long, over a certain area.
  2. Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted in the area or its presence has been detected by radar.
  3. Tornado Siren - The alarm for a tornado warning is a siren, which sounds intermittently for three minutes. When the all clear is announced, the same siren will be given continuously for three minutes.
  4. Tornado Safety Tips:

    • If you are in a residence hall, move into the bathroom of your suite or well away from the windows to an interior hallway. Hall Staff will keep you apprised of developments as they occur.
    • If you are in a suite, move to the lowest level utilizing the center stairway and away from windows.
    • If you are in West Campus Apartments, move to the basement. If you are in East or South Campus Apartments, move to the bathroom.
    • Seek inside shelter, preferably in a tornado cellar, underground excavation, or a steel framed or reinforced concrete building of substantial construction.
    • Stay away from windows.
    • If a building is not of reinforced construction, go quickly to a nearby reinforced building or to a ravine or open ditch and lie flat.
    • Avoid auditoriums and gymnasiums or other structures with wide, free-span roofs.
    • If you are in open country, move away from the tornado’s path at a right angle, and lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch or ravine.
    • Keep listening. Your radio and television stations will broadcast the latest tornado advisory information.