Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt sent out recommendations last month from his campus security task force, and, since then, several Missouri universities, including MU, have been looking at their plans to see if they need improvement.
Missouri State University announced Septemberr 14 that they will invest $300,000 during 2007-2008 to make improvements to their emergency response system that the task force suggested. The funding will focus on a mass communication system that will use text messaging and an education and training system for the entire campus community. During the first year they plan to implement a mass communication system, telephone system generator, emergency phones, back-up generators, and education and training for students, faculty and staff.
According to current MU Interim President Gordon Lamb, MU has already implemented many of the recommendations that the task force suggested in the university’s emergency plan. There is already an emergency alert system in place on campus, utilizing e-mail, telephone calling trees, and in-person contact. Yet, MU is also looking at possible improvements to its current emergency plan. Final negotiations are in the works to add a text messaging option to it’s emergency alert system. The UM system plans to send a press release about the proposal in the coming weeks. Also, MU also has ongoing training for the people that deal with managing emergency incidents, a service that a survey done by the task force found that less than 40 percent of Missouri higher educational institutions have.
In fact, all four campuses of the UM system have an up-to-date emergency plan. The University of Missouri-Saint Louis has a reknowned mental health program for any kind of emergency. Also, according to a survey, only 28 percent of Missouri universities have a suffecient communication plan with their local fire and police department. All of the UM campuses have close working relationships with local public safety agencies.