How do colleges handle potentially dangerous situations?


MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY, Miss. (WCBI)- Anytime there is a report of a dangerous situation on a college campus, there’s a rippling wave of concerns.

It starts with students and parents and even extends to the surrounding community.

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However, there are protocols in place to make sure the correct information is released.

Scrolling through Mississippi State’s Maroon Alert Twitter account, there’s information about fire alarms and severe weather.

That’s also the place students could find alerts about dangerous situations on campus.

MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter says university administrators carefully examine the information they send out in order to not cause panic.

“There’s always the need to strike a balance between encouraging reports of actual crimes and discouraging reports of false reports of crime so.”

When university police or emergency management learn about a situation, they start looking into the matter immediately.

“We investigate it in a number of ways primarily through the Mississippi State University Police Department, we attempt to make sure that we follow these things where the investigation leads us, and we follow the information so that people who feel victimized are protected and that we also at the same time look out for the rights of our community,

The university has cameras throughout campus that are rarely seen, which help with the investigations.

They also talk to witnesses before pressing send.

“You know, between 25 and 30,000 people in this immediate university community, so when we decide to notify them that there’s trouble. We need to be relatively sure that that threat exists and that they need to go through the process of making themselves safe.”

Salter says students and staff should always feel comfortable talking with the officers who are there to protect them, and no issue is too small to report.

“It’s always better to err on the side of caution. But not every notification is necessarily going to result in the issuance of a maroon alert, it will result in an investigation, where we pay attention to what we’re told by our campus community and try to keep everyone safe,” said Salter.

Salter says there around 10,000 people registered for the Maroon Alert system and over 26,000 twitter followers.