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Campus preparedness for bomb threats

upd chief calvin sellers and associate provost noel wilkin tell students that everything is being done to ensure their safety in emergency situations.

After the recent bomb threat hoax at Lexington Pointe in Oxford, University of Mississippi officials are working to see that students have complete access to emergency guidelines.
Some students feel safe be- lieving the campus will be able to handle it in any way.
“Nobody is ready for a bomb threat, but I believe the campus and the students would be able to follow the directions pretty well,” said Ian Ford, a political science sophomore.
Ford said there should be links within the Reb Alerts that are sent out so students could easily find information on their smartphones, but he also admitted that not everyone would take advantage of that system either.
“What they could do is probably put a link in that text message because everybody has a smartphone these days, and you can just click on the link and it would take you to the part of the MyOleMiss website or just the Ole Miss website and it would have the information there,” Ford said.
“I think you would get a mixture of both you would have some kids that would actually go and look at it be- cause now that you and I are talking about this, I would probably actually go look at it, and you would have stu- dents who would just be like ‘Oh, that would never happen here.’”
Junior pharmacy major Laken Burrell said the University Police Department and the administration could handle a bomb threat.
“I would be nervous, though, since I live on cam- pus, but they’ve probably been working on it since the threats at other colleges,” Burrell said.
The administration, which has designed and reviewed the emergency protocols, is also confident that the plans that have been developed will work if a bomb threat is reported.
“I am confident that we have developed a process to respond to emergencies, and that we have people and access to people who are trained to deal with emergencies and situations that might arise,” Associate Provost Noel Wilkin said. “Just as we strive for excellence in our academic programs, we strive for excellence in being prepared.”
Wilkin also said that many of the university staff and leaders, including Chancel- lor Dan Jones, are trained in the Incident Command Sys- tem. ICS is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach developed by the federal government.
The UPD also has special training to deal with bomb threats.
“Our officers get training in a lot of areas,” UPD Chief Calvin Sellers said. “One of our officers, who is a graduate student that did his thesis on how to respond to bomb threats, teaches the class and also teaches other police departments around the state.”
Erika Applewhite, a se- nior business major, said she doesn’t think the campus is fully prepared for a bomb threat.
“I’m just one person, but I’m pretty sure a lot of students haven’t heard anything about bomb threats,” she said.
“So we’re not prepared, and if something was to happen, I think it would be a big chaos.”
Sellers said there is an or-
ganized evacuation plan in the event of a bomb threat on campus.
“If we were to receive a threat on a building on one side of the campus, we wouldn’t be concerned about evacuating people out of a building on the other side of campus,” he said. “If we do need to evacuate the entire campus or sections, we would divide the campus up into quadrants.”
Ole Miss has developed several methods of communicating to the student body and the public, according to Wilkin. These methods in- clude: text messages, email, an emergency website, sirens and voice-over-siren capabilities.
For more information on how to respond in an emer- gency situation, and to re- view the evacuation maps, go to www.olemiss.edu/ emergency.