University launches campus-wide security review

A university-wide working group has begun a comprehensive review of Vanderbilt’s emergency preparedness, particularly in response to an active shooter scenario.

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier charged Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration, and Ruby Z. Shellaway, vice chancellor, general counsel and university secretary, with convening the working group that includes representatives from relevant areas, including Risk Management, Vanderbilt University Public Safety, the Office of Health and Wellness, Student Affairs, Faculty Affairs, Human Resources and the Vanderbilt Child and Family Center.

The working group is evaluating and supporting near-term and longer-term security enhancement solutions.

“The safety of our campus is our top priority,” Diermeier said. “While we already have comprehensive security measures in place, we are always looking at how we can improve and enhance them. Recent incidents, like those at Michigan State and the nearby Covenant School, have made that work more urgent.”

Vanderbilt takes a multilayered approach to campus security. The university’s public safety department is highly trained, accredited and dedicated to protecting and serving the university community. Vanderbilt University Public Safety also provides police and security services in patient areas through an agreement with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

VUPS trains annually in the areas of use of force and emergency operations to maintain a state of readiness to respond to instances of active violence. The department also works closely with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and with other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, TBI and ATF, as needed.

VUPS includes 100 sworn officers and about 120 community service officers. Through a memorandum of understanding with the city’s police department, the sworn officers hold special police commissions that provide them the same authority and training as that of a Nashville law enforcement officer while on property owned by Vanderbilt, on adjacent public streets and sidewalks, and in nearby neighborhoods.

In an active assailant situation, VUPS would activate the university’s mass notification system, AlertVU, and respond immediately in coordination with local first responders.

For more information, visit the Emergency Management website, which includes details on these key resources:

AlertVU – Vanderbilt University’s emergency mass notification system

VandySafe App – Available for download through the Apple and Google Play stores, the app provides users with several safety services, including emergency guides, the ability to submit iReports and share locations instantly with VUPD as well as the ability to initiate a “virtual walk home” feature.

Guidelines for Active Shooter Incident – The best time to consider how to react is in advance. These guidelines provide information to help individuals act quickly if necessary.

Learn more about the university’s security review.