Safety Policies

SY03 Emergencies Involving Students

Policy Status: 

Active

Policy Steward: 

Assistant Vice-President for Police and Public Safety / Director of Environmental Health and Safety

Contents:

PURPOSE:

To outline the University's policy on emergencies involving students and establish notification guidelines for dealing with emergencies involving students.

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE:

It is the policy of the University to render emergency assistance to students who are seriously injured, suffer serious illness, or experience other personal emergencies while attending the University, and to notify and assist the families of students who have died, are seriously ill or injured, are missing or experience other personal emergency situations.

REPORTING EMERGENCIES:

The designated Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs atUniversity Park, or the Director of Student Affairs at other locations, is to be notified immediately of all emergencies involving students. He/she has the authority and the responsibility for coordinating the efforts made by the University to assist the student and the student's family.

Situations involving students which are to be reported include, but are not limited to, the death* of a student; life-threatening injuries resulting from attempted suicides, fires, explosions, traffic crashes or other accidents; life threatening illnesses; and missing students. When emergencies involving students occur within on-campus housing units and are known to the Residence Life staff, the Residence Life staff will be responsible for notifying either the designated Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at University Park, or the Director of Student Affairs at other locations, according to established Student Affairs protocols.

* NOTEExcept for deaths occurring in a medical facility due to natural causes, the investigation of any death on a Penn State campus will be the responsibility of the law enforcement agency serving the campus and the county coroner. In these situations, the police and the coroner will be in-charge of the situation until the investigation is completed. The coroner will determine the most appropriate person to notify the next of kin and the means of making such notification.This notification may be made by hospital staff, police, or, in some cases, a representative of Student Affairs or other University official.

The designated Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at University Park will have the responsibility for notifying the following persons or departments about student emergencies as soon as possible:

  1. Vice President for Student Affairs - The Vice President for Students Affairs will notify the President and other senior executives as appropriate.
     
  2. Vice President for Strategic Communications and/or the Director of News and Media Relations– to coordinate and field any media notification or inquiries.
     
  3. Student Affairs Units - These notifications shall be made in accordance with established Student Affairs protocols.
     
  4. Office of International Students and Scholars - when the student involved is a foreign national.
     
  5. Academic Areas - The Office of the Dean of the college in which the student is enrolled shall be notified as appropriate.
     
  6. University Police - The University Police will coordinate with State Police and local police to locate missing students and make emergency notifications.
     
  7. Department of Environmental Health and Safety - when the cause of a death or injury on the campus was related to the physical environment.
     
  8. Risk Management - when appropriate.
     
  9. Offices of Financial Aid and Registrar - when appropriate.
     
  10. Office of Housing and Food Services and Residence Life - when the student resides in on-campus student housing.

At non-University Park locations, the Director of Student Affairs will have the responsibility for notifying the following persons or departments about student emergencies as soon as possible:

  1. Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs - The designated Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at University Park will make the notifications listed above as appropriate when notified of an emergency involving students at a non-University Park location.
     
  2. Campus Chancellor
     
  3. Campus Academic Affairs Officer
     
  4. Campus Police or Security Unit - The police or security unit will coordinate with State Police and local police to locate missing students and make emergency notifications.
     
  5. Campus Director of University Relations – to coordinate and field any media inquiries. The Campus University Relations director will in turn notify the Office of the Vice President for Strategic Communications.
     
  6. Department of Environmental Health and Safety - when the cause of a death or injury on the campus was related to the physical environment.
     
  7. Risk Management - when appropriate.
     
  8. Campus Office of Housing and Food Services and Residence Life - when the student resides in on-campus student housing.
     
  9. Campus Office of Financial Aid and Registrar - when appropriate.

NOTIFICATIONS TO FAMILIES OF STUDENTS INVOLVED IN EMERGENCIES:

The designated Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at University Park, or the Director of Student Affairs at other locations, shall be responsible for insuring that the family of a student involved in an emergency is notified of the emergency and shall coordinate assistance to the family of the student on behalf of the University. In the case of the death of a student, notification of the next of kin is the responsibility of the coroner. Any death notifications will be done at the direction of the county coroner.

EMERGENCIES INVOLVING STUDENTS WHILE ENGAGED IN UNIVERSITY TRAVEL:

Whenever a student is involved in an emergency situation while traveling on a University sponsored trip, e.g. trips with student organizations and athletic teams, the staff member or other person in-charge of the activity shall contact the University Police at University Park (814-863-1111). This office is open 24 hours a day. The University Police shall notify the designated Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs of the emergency. The staff member or other person in-charge of the activity should also make appropriate notifications within his/her college or administrative unit. The University Police at University Park also serve the point of contact after normal business hours for emergencies involving students enrolled in Education Abroad programs.

REPORTING ACCIDENTS OR ILLNESSES:

After the necessary initial assistance has been given to an injured or suddenly ill person, an immediate report of the circumstances should be made as specified below.

1. At University Park:

  • University Police shall submit a copy of reports of accidents and illnesses to the Risk Management Office, 227 W. Beaver Ave., Suite 103, Rider 2, State College, PA 16801, 814-865-6307. University Police shall contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) if the injury or illness may be attributed to the University environment.
  • EHS will submit a copy of prepared reports to the Risk Management Office.
  • EMS or other appropriate staff shall submit a de-identified list of incidents occurring at large public events to the Risk Management Office.

2. At Non-University Park Locations:

  • Accidents or illnesses shall be reported to the Chancellor or other designated administrative officer using the Risk Management Incident Form, or the Police/Security incident form used at the location.
  • The Chancellor or other designated administrative officer shall submit a copy of the Risk Management Incident Form or the Police/Security incident form to the Risk Management Office, 227 W. Beaver Ave., Suite 103, Rider 2, State College, PA 16801, 814-865-6307.   In addition, the Chancellor or other designated administrative officer shall immediately contact EHS (814-865-6391) and the Risk Management Office in the event the injury or illness could be attributed to the University environment. 

FURTHER INFORMATION:

For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact University Police & Public Safety.

 

Effective Date: May 26, 2011 
Date Approved: May 25, 2011 
Date Published: May 26, 2011 (Editorial change, August 21, 2014)

Most recent changes:

  • August 21, 2014 - Editorial changes. In the REPORTING EMERGENCIES section, references to the Office of University Relations have been changed to the Office of Strategic Communications, and reference to the Director of Public Information has been changed to Director of News and Media Relations.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • February 27, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • May 26, 2011 - Revisions made in the REPORTING EMERGENCIES section, updating the list of key personnel who are to be notified.
  • December 3, 2007 - Clarified reporting of accidents or illnesses (section added).
  • April 16, 2004
    • Expanded the scope of emergency assistance.
    • Revised the list of persons and departments within the University that must be notified.
    • Added the sections NOTIFICATIONS TO FAMILIES OF STUDENTS INVOLVED IN EMERGENCIES and EMERGENCIES INVOLVING STUDENTS WHILE ENGAGED IN UNIVERSITY TRAVEL.
  • June 11, 1999 - Position title updates.
  • September 9, 1987 - Editorial changes for department and position titles. Also notifying "parents" has been changed to "next of kin."
  • July 26, 1984 - The "Assistant Vice President for Student Services" replaces the role of "Director of Counseling and Health Services."
  • May 21, 1984 - The "Director of Counseling and Health Services" replaces the role of "Director of Residential Life." The list of contacts was amended to include the Office of Student Loans and Scholarships.
  • June 1, 1982 - The list of contacts was amended to include the Office of Risk Management and the Office of the University Registrar.
  • March 15, 1978 - The list of contacts was amended to include the Office of Housing and Food Services and the Office of Student Aid. The role of the "Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs" was change to "Director of Residential Life Programs."
  • March 29, 1976 - New policy.