95.24 – Vandal Alert Notification System

February 27, 2015

Preamble: This procedure was updated in 2015 to provide comprehensive guidance for issuing notifications to the University of Idaho community using the Vandal Alert System.  The University’s goals are to provide prompt notification of a confirmed situation impacting the university community and to provide instructions for taking action when needed.  These protocols are integrated with and supplement the University’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) and Crisis Communication Plan.  These protocols apply only to the Vandal Alert System, the University of Idaho may use other forms of communication as part of a broader communication strategy.

A.  Definitions.

A-1. Vandal Alert System:  Vandal Alert is an institution-wide, multi-modal (e-mail, voice, text message) emergency notification system.  All University employees and students are enrolled automatically through employee/student database modules.  Contact data/membership in Vandal Alert is updated daily through an automated process to ensure accurate membership.  Students and employees are encouraged to update their Vandal Alert contact information through the Vandal Web application.  Members of the greater Moscow community may also be enrolled in Vandal Alert.  The Office of Public Safety and Security has overall management responsibility for Vandal Alert.

A-2. Emergency Notification (Clery Act Requirement):  An alert issued to the campus community triggered by an event that is currently occurring on or imminently threatening the UI campus.  UI will initiate emergency notification procedures for any significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on campus that represents an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees.

A-3. Timely Warning (Clery Act Requirement):  An alert issued to the campus community triggered by Clery Act crimes that have already occurred but represent an ongoing threat.  UI will initiate Timely Warning procedures when a Clery Act crime is committed on University property that is reported to campus security authorities or law enforcement authorities and is considered to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees. 

A-4. Adverse Weather Notification:  An alert issued to the campus community when projected or existing severe or adverse weather conditions may impact University operations requiring delays or cancellation of classes or events and/or the closure of a University facility, site or campus (see APM 95.21, University Closures).

A-5. Informational Notification:  A notification issued to the campus community that does not meet the criteria for either an emergency notification or timely warning, but may be of significant interest to the university community. 

B.  Policy/Procedure.

B-1.  Emergency Notification.  In compliance with The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)), Emergency Notifications will be broadcast when the University receives a confirmed report from a cognizant authority (i.e. a law enforcement authority), that a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, faculty, staff or visitors is occurring on campus.  In those instances, the Executive Director of Public Safety or designee will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and broadcast the notification, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency.  Emergency Notifications will include instructions to the UI community for protective action.  When the threat no longer exists, an “all clear” alert will be broadcast.  The Executive Director of Public Safety and Security or designee has the authority to broadcast Emergency Notifications to the University community using the Vandal Alert System.  When appropriate, Emergency Notifications may be broadcast through other communication methods (web pages, press releases, printed and/or social media, etc.)

B-2.  Timely Warning.  In compliance with The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)), Timely Warnings will be broadcast when a report of murder, sex offense, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, manslaughter, or arson (Clery Act Crimes) is received by campus security authorities and, in the judgment of the institution, the crime at issue poses a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.  The Executive Director of Public Safety or designee will broadcast Timely Warnings using the Vandal Alert system in a manner that is timely and will aid in the prevention of similar crimes, unless issuing a warning will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the threat.  The intent of a timely warning is to enable people to protect themselves and/or their property.  Timely Warnings will be issued as soon as pertinent information is available.  Timely Warnings may also be made for other crimes (non-Clery) that pose a serious or continuing threat to the campus community.  The Executive Director of Public Safety and Security or designee has the authority to broadcast Timely Warnings to the University community.   When appropriate, Timely Warnings may be broadcast through other communication methods (web pages, press releases, printed and/or social media, etc.)

B-3.  Adverse Weather Notification.  Adverse weather notifications will be broadcast when significant severe weather conditions exist that may have an impact on University operations and when the UI President or designee makes a decision to close or delay opening a UI facility.  The University Emergency Manager monitors weather conditions, participates in the National Weather Service weekly briefing and makes recommendations for taking appropriate actions in the event of a weather related emergency (see APM 95.21, University Closures).  The UI President or designee has the authority to close or delay opening a UI facility. When a designee makes a decision to close or delay opening a UI facility, they will notify the UI President’s office and the office of Public Safety and Security.  The Executive Director of Public Safety and Security or designee has the authority to broadcast an Adverse Weather Notification, and to notify the University community of approved closures or delays.  

B-4.  Informational Notification.  Informational Notifications will be broadcast when a reported crime or emergency does not meet the criteria for other alerts, but in the judgment of the institution, the campus community should be notified about an incident.  Situations that may be appropriate for broadcasting an informational notification include incidents or crimes occurring off campus that may have an impact on student or employee security interests, violent crimes in which the perpetrator or suspect has been apprehended or is known not to be on campus, or incidents that may generate significant interest across the campus community.  The Director of Integrated Communications or designee has the authority to broadcast an Informational Notification.

B-5. Vandal Alert System Testing.  The University Emergency Manager will test the Vandal Alert System on an annual basis.  Test messages may be broadcast using a single mode or may combine multiple modes of the system.  Test messages will clearly state in the subject line that there is no actual threat or emergency and that the purpose of the notification is to test the system and/or response plans and capabilities.  To the extent possible, system tests will be combined with emergency response drills and will include follow-up assessment and review.  

C.  Contact Information:
The Office of Public Safety and Security
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 2281
Moscow, ID  83844-2281
208-885-2254
Fax:  208-885-7001
campus-security@uidaho.edu