Lehigh’s campus community shares in the profound grief that our nation is feeling in response to the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to their entire Virginia Tech campus.
At Lehigh, nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our campus community members. To this end, the university has in place comprehensive plans and a process to respond to emergency situations. Lehigh reviews its existing emergency plans regularly to ensure we are prepared to the best of our abilities to effectively respond to situations and maintain campus safety.
Included in our approach is an e-mail alert system that informs members of our community when a situation occurs involving campus safety. The university is also currently assessing new approaches to enhance how we inform community members of incidents involving campus safety.
The university also offers a range of emergency services through its police department, which is fully trained and certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The primary function of the department is to protect the welfare and safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. The force has been effective in ensuring campus safety and utilizes, when needed, the Lehigh University Emergency Medical Services Response Team, which provides first response for all emergencies on campus, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when the university is in session.
We approach safety as a partnership that involves our entire campus community including our students, staff and faculty. While we encourage all members of our community to play an active role in ensuring safety on our campus, no community can be totally free of risk in today’s society.
Lehigh has made many changes over the years to make our campus as safe as possible by focusing our efforts on three main areas:
Providing resources for campus safety programs:
• Increasing by more than 40 percent the number of police officers and security guards on campus;
• Installing a state-of-the-art card access system in residence halls and sorority houses;
• Equipping all residence buildings with alarm systems;
• Installing a sophisticated system of outdoor emergency telephones throughout campus to enable easy access to campus police;
• Establishing a safety escort system and Take a Ride Around Campus Safely (TRACS) program, which provides walking or driving escorts to community members from dusk to 10 p.m. (escort service) and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. (TRACS).
Educating and raising awareness about campus safety:
• Addressing campus safety issues during first-year orientation sessions;
• Distributing the Annual Security Report
to every first-year student during orientation and making it available to the entire campus community;
• Establishing police substations to help raise police visibility in the areas around campus;
• Partnering with Student Senate’s Campus Life Improvement Project team to address campus safety issues and create programs;
• Initiating an e-mail based Safety Bulletin system to quickly alert students and members of the campus community to possible safety threats.
Fostering a sense of shared responsibility for campus safety:
• Increasing the quality and quantity of crime prevention programs by assigning a fulltime crime prevention officer who offers a variety of courses on crime prevention;
• Creating the Lehigh University Police Department Liaison Program which links police officers with Greek houses and residence halls in order to strengthen relationships between students and police officers;
• Initiating a community policing approach that consists of more walking patrols, greater personal contact with students, faculty and staff, and an increased cooperative relationship with the City of Bethlehem Police Department.