Skip to main content

WVU-PD-1-B Emergency Notifications (WVU Alerts), Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings), and WVU Community Notices

Responsible Unit: University Police
Effective: December 21, 2020
Revision History: None.
Review Date: January 2026
Exhibit A: WVU Campus Warning

  1. Purpose and Policy

    1. Emergency Notifications (WVU Alerts), Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings), and WVU Community Notices are designed to help the University keep members of the University community informed about threats to their safety and health in a manner that allows for steps to be taken in order to protect against those threats. Thus, the University will issue Emergency Notifications (WVU Alerts), Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings), and WVU Community Notices consistent with this Policy.
    2. As set forth in this Policy, each notification discussed in this Policy will be sent for its intended purpose and will include the information set forth below.
      1. Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings) alert the campus community to certain crimes in a manner that is timely (meaning once all pertinent information is available) and that will aid in the prevention of similar crimes.
      2. Emergency Notifications (WVU Alerts) are intended to immediately notify the campus community of a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on campus that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. Both are required by law.
      3. WVU Community Notices are not required by law but are provided in order for the University to enhance safety at the University and provide useful information to the community.
  2. Definitions

    1. Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings) – a notification of a Clery Reportable Crime that occurred on the University’s Clery Geography, and that is considered by the University to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees. This notification will be provided in accordance with Section 3 and is required by law.
    2. Emergency Notification – a notification that there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on campus that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. This notification will be provided in accordance with Section 4 and is required by law.
    3. WVU Community Bulletin – a notification that is neither a WVU Crime Alert - Timely Warning nor an Emergency Notification and is not required by law but is being sent when the University determines that information should be provided to the campus community in order to enhance safety.
    4. Clery Reportable Crime - Crimes required by the Clery Act to be reported annually to the University community, including: criminal homicide (murder and negligent/non-negligent manslaughter); sex offenses (rape, fondling, statutory rape, and incest); robbery; aggravated assault; burglary; motor vehicle theft; arson; hate crimes (including larceny-theft, simple assault, intimidation, or destruction/damage/vandalism of property that are motivated by bias); dating violence; domestic violence; stalking; and arrests and referrals for disciplinary action for any of the following: (a) liquor law violations, (b) drug law violations, and (c) carrying or possessing illegal weapons.
    5. Clery Geography – The campus geographic areas, as defined by the Clery Act, for which Clery-Reportable Crimes are required to be reported. The geographic categories include:
      1. On-Campus locations means buildings or property owned or controlled by the University within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area and used by the University in direct support to, or in a manner related to, the University’s educational purpose, including on-campus student housing;
      2. Public Property within the campus, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus; and
      3. Noncampus Property means (a) building or property owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University; or (b) any building or property owned or controlled by the University that is used in direct support of, or in relation to, the University’s educational purposes, is frequently used by students, and is not reasonably contiguous to the core campus.
    6. Campus Security Authority (CSA) – Individuals at the University who because of their functional role have an obligation to notify the University about allegations of Clery Reportable Crimes that are reported to or witnessed by the CSA to the University.
  3. Timely Warnings

    1. Circumstances for a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) . A Timely Warning (Campus Warning) will be issued when (1) a Clery Reportable Crime occurs on Clery Geography; (2) the Clery Reportable Crime is reported to a Campus Security Authority or local police; (3) the Clery Reportable Crime is considered to represent a serious or continuing threat to the University students or employees; and (4) the Timely Warning (Campus Warning) will aid in the timely prevention of similar acts.
      1. Clery Reportable Crimes. Typically, Clery Reportable Crimes such as arson; aggravated assault; criminal homicide; robbery; burglary; rape, fondling, incest, statutory rape; and hate crimes may initiate a Timely Warning (Campus Warning). However, as necessary, and at the discretion of the University Police Chief or designee, Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings) may be issued for other crimes if they pose a serious or continuing threat to the members of the University Community.
      2. Exceptions. The University will not provide a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) with respect to crimes reported to a pastoral or professional counselor.
      3. Victim Information. Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings) will be distributed in a way that withholds as confidential the names and other identifying information of victims.
    2. Factors for a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) . In determining whether to issue a Timely Warning (Campus Warning), the following factors will be considered:
      1. The nature of the crime , including whether it was an isolated incident or something that poses a continuing threat, whether violence was part of the crime, whether there were multiple victims, whether any victims were minors, and whether a suspect utilized drug(s) as part of the crime;
      2. The continuing danger to the University Community , including whether Members of the University Community are at risk of becoming victims of a similar crime, whether the alleged perpetrator has been apprehended; whether there were multiple perpetrators and some have not been apprehended; whether the perpetrator(s) has a history of non-compliance with University issued directives, such as a trespass notice; whether the perpetrator(s) has a history of violence; and whether there are signs of a pattern of crimes;
      3. The possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts , including whether specific information should be included or omitted given law enforcement efforts, such as investigatory actions being undertaken.
    3. Responsibility for a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) . The University Police Chief will be responsible for issuing a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) in consultation with the appropriate personnel involved in Clery compliance. University Relations will be responsible for assisting in the delivery of the Timely Warning (Campus Warning) to members of the University Community. For these reasons, CSA’s and local law enforcement should report Clery Crimes to UPD immediately upon receipt of such a report.
    4. Dissemination of a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) . Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings) will be disseminated in a manner reasonably likely to reach the members of the University Community and allow for them to take appropriate steps to protect themselves. Specifically, Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings) will be distributed in the following ways:
      1. E-mails to students, staff, and faulty via their Mix or University provided e-mail accounts; and
      2. Posted on the University Police website; and
    5. Content of a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) . The following information is typically included in a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) if available:
      1. The type of crime reported, including any specific information related to the potential serious or ongoing threat;
      2. The persons or locations that might be affected;
      3. Any connection to a previous incident or incidents, if any;
      4. Description of the suspect or suspects;
      5. Date and time the warning was released;
      6. Any other relevant information that may be applicable to the crime; and
      7. Any applicable safety tips specific to the crime or threat involved.
  4. Emergency Notifications (WVU Alerts)

    1. Upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on campus that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees, the University will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of an Emergency Notification (WVU Alert) and initiate its emergency notification procedures, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgement of the first responders, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency. “Immediate threat” as used here includes an imminent or impending threat:
      1. The significant emergency or dangerous situation will be confirmed by the University Police Department and it is the Chief of Police or designee’s decision to initiate an Emergency Notification (WVU Alert). Further, it is the responsibility of the Chief of Police or Shift Supervisor to initiate the steps necessary to carry out the actions to initiate an Emergency Notification (WVU Alert).
      2. If an Emergency Notification (WVU Alert) is sent for a Clery Reportable Crime, a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) is not necessary based on the same circumstances; however, adequate follow-up information shall be provided to the University community as needed.
    2. If an Emergency Notification (WVU Alert) is necessary, the University will follow the steps outlined in the WVU Crisis Communications Plan, which can be found here and includes the process for disseminating emergency information to the larger community: https://universityrelations.wvu.edu/culture/resources-for-communicators/crisis-communications-plan/plan
    3. The appropriate segment or segments of the University community will receive a notification and that will be determined by the information available at the time.
    4. The content of an Emergency Notification (WVU Alert) will include the nature of the emergency or dangerous situation; the particular location or individuals affected by the emergency or dangerous situations; and any other critical information necessary in order to allow members of the University community to take preventive measures.
    5. The University will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, 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.
    6. The procedures to test Emergency Notifications (WVU Alerts), as well as the emergency response and evacuation procedures, will occur on at least an annual basis and may be announced or unannounced. For each test, there will be documentation of a description of the exercise, the date, time, and whether it was announced or unannounced.
    7. The University will publicize its emergency response and evacuation procedures in conjunction with at least one test per calendar year.
  5. WVU Community Notices

    1. In other instances, where neither a Timely Warning (Campus Warning) nor an Emergency Notification (WVU Alert) may be required, the University may issue a WVU Community Notices if it determines that information should be provided to the campus community in order to enhance safety.
    2. WVU Community Notices will be issued in a manner consistent with its objective and may utilize the same or different manners for which both Timely Warnings (Campus Warnings) and Emergency Notifications (WVU Alerts) are sent. Similarly, the content for WVU Community Notices will depend on the situation presented and should be flexible in order to achieve the purpose of providing notice of the ongoing situation to members of the University Community.
  6. Superseding Provisions

    1. This Policy supersedes and replaces any other WVU policy or procedure which relates to the subject matter contained within this Rule.