Safety Information

What is the SU policy on reporting criminal incidents to State and Local Police?

The Department of Public Safety investigates all incidents involving criminal activity it receives. The Department may also coordinate investigations with other outside agencies as needed. Newly enacted legislation, Act 48, allows University police officers to act outside the campus limits under specific conditions. All University crime statistics are reported monthly to the Pennsylvania State Police for use in the Uniform Crime Report and arrest information for offenses as required by state criminal history record retention laws.

What is the SU policy on encouraging the reporting of crime?

The University and the Department of Public Safety strongly encourage faculty, staff, students and guests to report any illegal or suspicious activity in a timely manner to the University police. Those incidents reported to Pastoral and Professional Counselors are not included in campus crime statistics, however reports of criminal activity that are brought to the attention of the Dean of Students, Residence Life and Housing Services, any student organization or activity advisor, athletic coaches, intramural sport advisors and medical health professionals are required to be reported and they should be brought to the attention of the Department of Public Safety either by the victims or by the person receiving the report as soon as possible after the report is received. Forms have been provided to those on campus identified as campus security authorities for these reports. Those who report criminal incidents to Pastoral or Professional Counselors are encouraged to voluntarily report the incident to Public Safety on a confidential basis. If off campus, individuals are encouraged to report crimes to the local police in a timely manner.

Providing safety and security are the primary responsibilities of the Department of Public Safety and our main goal is to serve and protect the University community. This however, is a goal we cannot achieve alone. We need the cooperation of everyone in the community. As members of the University community, we all have a moral responsibility and a personal interest in the maintenance of a safe environment on campus for all to enjoy. Taking responsibility and reporting crime and suspicious activities in a timely manner will be beneficial to you, the University and the entire community.

What are the procedures for students and others to report criminal activity or other emergencies occurring on campus and how does the University respond?

The campus community can report criminal activity on campus by calling Public Safety at 717-477-1444 (campus extension 1444), in person at the University Police station located in the Reed Operations Center, or by using one of the provided emergency phones. These emergency phones are located in various areas throughout the campus and report directly to the University Police station when activated. (See map on page 12 for locations.) Anyone on campus needing assistance in a medical or fire emergency should dial 911. Even if victims of crime do not wish to pursue criminal or judicial charges, they are still encouraged to file a confidential report with the Student Affairs Division, or with the University Police. This allows for information about the incident to be documented and analyzed while protecting the identity of the reporting person. Having the University community file reports for all incidents that occur on campus allows the University to accurately report the number of criminal incidents and determine whether crime patterns are present to protect the campus community from future criminal acts.

The Department of Public Safety maintains a 24-hour dispatch center, which is staffed by a police officer, to answer all calls for assistance. Upon receiving a request for assistance, an officer along with any other appropriate personnel will be immediately dispatched to the location. In cases involving criminal activity, University police officers will respond and conduct an investigation. Information regarding all citations or arrests made by University Police for criminal violations on campus is forwarded to the Office of Judicial Affairs. Arrests of University students by municipal or State police agencies that are brought to the attention of the Department of Public Safety are also forwarded to the Office of Judicial Affairs. All students are held accountable for their behavior on and off campus property.

How are missing person reports investigated?

When the Shippensburg University Police Department receives a missing persons report an immediate investigation will be initiated to attempt to discern the whereabouts of the missing person. This will include standard investigation techniques and interviews with family members, friends and other associates who may be aware of the situation or who may have information about the last known or current whereabouts of the missing person.

Also as soon as feasible, the investigating officer will contact the Cumberland County Emergency Communications Center and provide them with the needed information so that the missing person can be entered into the missing persons file of the National Crime Information Center, and that the information can be disseminated to law enforcement agencies throughout the United States of America. The police will also work with, and share information with the local police and the PA State Police as needed, and keep family members updated as to the status of the investigation.

"Suzanne's Law" is named after Suzanne Lyall, a State University of New York at Albany student who has been missing since 1998. Previously, police were only mandated to report missing persons under the age of 18. This law, which was signed by President Bush as part of the national "Amber Alert" bill on April 30, 2003, requires police to initiate prompt investigations into missing young people.

This law amends Section 3701(a) of the Crime Control Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 5779(a)), so that there is no waiting period before a law enforcement agency initiates an investigation of a missing person under the age of 21 and reports the missing person to the National Crime Information Center of the Department of Justice.

How and when does SU inform the campus about security matters?

The Department of Public Safety will inform the University Marketing and Communications office of any criminal activity of which it is aware that may present an on-going or continuing threat, so that the campus community may be alerted. This procedure includes any incident that poses a serious threat to the campus community that is reported to the University, whether the incident occurred on campus or at an off-campus location. In these situations, a "Safety Alert" will be issued to all university members. Information contained in the "Safety Alert" will appear on the University web page and will include the time, date, location, and type of incident. This information will also be sent electronically to all campus members with e-mail accounts. In the case of a life-threatening situation, the "Safety Alert" will also be sent to all registered cell phones via a text messaging system. Depending on the type of incident, other information such as a brief description of the events, a description of suspects, and pertinent crime prevention information may also be provided. In addition, e-mails will be sent to all campus members with e-mail accounts advising them of the situation. Campus voice mail "Hot Line" messages will also be used as well as public address systems. Anyone who may have information about criminal activity that may warrant notification of the campus community can contact the Department of Public Safety at 717-477-1444 or in person at the University Police Station, which is located in the Reed Operations Center. All information received will be analyzed by the Department of Public Safety and the University administration to determine the threat level of the incident to the campus community. Anyone with information regarding an incident reported through a "Safety Alert" is encouraged to report that information to the appropriate law enforcement agency as is noted on the alert.

Officers from the Department of Public Safety conduct safety presentations for new students during orientation programs at the beginning of each semester. Presentations regarding safety, prevention and security issues are made available to all faculty, staff, and student organizations throughout the year. Safety, security, and crime prevention information is available in brochures from the Department of Public Safety located in the Reed Operations Center. Criminal incident information is available 24 hours a day from the Department's daily incident log to those persons requesting this information.

What is the SU policy about access to the University's facilities and programs by students, employees, guests and others?

University facilities are open to the public during normal business hours. All individuals accessing University facilities must adhere to all Federal and State Laws as well as all University policies. All administrative and academic buildings are opened at approved times and secured upon the completion of their scheduled use by Public Safety. Prior to scheduling any extracurricular event the University must approve the use of the facility. When administrative and academic buildings are secure, access is restricted to authorized individuals through the use of card access or written authorization from the building administrator or faculty member.

Residence Hall access is restricted 24 hours per day via a card access system. Residents are provided access to the hall they live in via their student identification card at the designated entrances. Guests are given access to the building by the resident they are visiting and the resident is responsible for the guest while they are in the building. University policy states all employees, contractors, vendors shall display University identification when in an occupied residence hall.

What SU programs are available to inform student-housing residents about housing security and enforcement procedures?

At the beginning of each semester during new student orientation, students are informed of housing security and enforcement procedures by Department of Public Safety personnel. Public Safety personnel also participate in Residence Life staff training. Throughout the academic year, Public Safety officers conduct crime prevention and safety seminars in the residence halls. Resident Directors conduct hall meetings with students during the first week of each semester in regard to security issues and additionally, Resident Assistants conduct periodic resident floor meetings to inform students of campus policies and procedures.

What type of student housing is available?

University owned on-campus housing consists of eight residence halls. Most rooms are double occupancy; however some single rooms are available under specific circumstances. All residence halls house both male and female students. There is also a leased apartment complex that is part of University housing. This complex is located just off campus and is owned by the University Foundation.

What is the SU policy on housing assignments and requests by students for assignment changes?

Housing assignments are initially made for an entire academic year. Returning students apply for University owned housing during the first half of the spring semester each year and receive their assignments by mid-March. Assignment processes for affiliated housing begin later in the fall semester. First-year and transfer students are accepted as either "resident" or "commuter" students through the Office of Admissions, and those who plan to live on campus are notified of their assignments in early August prior to their arrival.

The housing application includes a section for students to indicate their personal preference regarding quiet hours and smoking (although all University housing facilities are smoke-free). These preferences are met whenever possible. Room changes are permitted for all residents during the second week of each semester if approved by the Resident Director (RD) of the facility. The RD handles any extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

How are student-housing facilities secured?

All exterior doors to the residence halls are locked 24 hours a day. The main entrances to each building are equipped with card readers, which residents can use to gain access to the building. All other entrances are alarmed and set for delayed egress, which will deny the ability to exit the building unless the emergency egress glass is broken or the fire alarm system has released the doors. Residents must provide access to the building for their guests and applicable guest policies must be followed. Each main entrance is also monitored through video camera surveillance.

Doors in the residence halls are equipped with a standard lock and key system. The windows are equipped with screens and will lock in place.

How many and what types of SU employees are assigned to University housing facilities?

Each hall has a 3/4 time, live-in, Resident Director who oversees all operational aspects of that hall/complex. All halls/complexes have student Resident Assistants living on each floor or in each apartment building and a student Desk Assistant who remains at the hall main desk during various hours, seven days a week. The entire residence life staff, which totals approximately 120 persons, receives varying levels of training on security procedures and policies, crisis intervention, confrontation, alcohol and drug abuse, and responding to emergency situations.

What is the SU policy for housing students during low occupancy periods, such as holidays and vacations?

During vacations and other low occupancy periods from late August to mid-May, most residence halls are vacated by residents and are locked and secured. During these low occupancy periods, entrance to the occupied residence halls is restricted via the card access system to only those students approved to stay on campus. University police officers patrol and check the buildings during these periods.

What is the SU policy for housing guests or others not assigned to student housing or not regularly associated with the University?

University housing is primarily for full-time registered students. Special arrangements may be made for part-time students with the permission of the Director of Housing or the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.

Students are permitted to host guests in their residence hall rooms. Every guest is subject to University rules and regulations and guests are the responsibility of the resident host. The University, reserves the right to deny access to any person who presents a threat to the peace, safety and welfare of other residents.

The University does not permit cohabitation or patterns of extended visitation in the residence halls or apartment complexes. All guests must follow proper registration and check-in procedures as prescribed by the appropriate staff. Overnight guests are permitted to visit and stay in University owned and Affiliated housing for defined periods of time, but the rights of the roommate take precedence in issues involving a guest. Patterns of visitation, which interfere with the rights, privileges or privacy of any resident student will not be tolerated and may subject the host to judicial action.

What security considerations does SU use in the maintenance of campus facilities?

University facilities and lighting on campus are maintained to minimize hazardous conditions. Malfunctioning lights and other unsafe conditions are reported through work orders filed with the Work Management Department for repair or correction. Plant growth is also monitored. Any growth considered a security hazard is reported to the grounds maintenance department for action. In addition, the Department of Public Safety conducts checks of all surveillance cameras on each shift daily, and also conducts twice monthly testing of all emergency telephones on campus. If any issues are discovered with the cameras or emergency telephones, the appropriate individuals are contacted to have the items repaired or replaced. The Work Management Department can be contacted at 717-477-1454.

What is the SU policy on possession, use or sale of alcohol and illegal drugs?

The University complies with the Federal, State, and Local laws including those that regulate the possession, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages and other controlled substances. Shippensburg University students, who use, sell, exchange, consume or possess, alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia on University property or at University functions will be dealt with in accordance with the Commonwealth, Federal, and Local laws as well as the University Student Code of Conduct. As Shippensburg University is a dry campus, even students who are 21 years of age or more are not permitted to possess or consume alcohol on campus property.

Non-students who violate the University's policies and whose actions are not in compliance with the orderly operation of the University will be prosecuted in accordance with Commonwealth, Federal, and Local laws. Non-Students involved in on campus violations of these policies may be banned from University property.

*Pennsylvania Act 31 concerns underage drinking including; misrepresentation of age to secure liquor, purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of intoxicating beverages, carrying a false identification card and using same to obtain or attempt to obtain alcoholic beverages and providing alcohol to minors. In addition to fines for conviction of these offenses, the court will order the motor vehicle operating privileges of the person suspended and a copy of the order will be sent to the Department of Transportation.

What is the SU policy on possession and use of weapons by security personnel or others?

Unauthorized persons are prohibited from possessing weapons of any kind on University property. University police officers are authorized to carry firearms and are certified in their use twice a year. University police officers also carry pepper spray and expandable batons which must be used in accordance with all Federal and State laws and University policies. Unauthorized persons found in violation will be subject to criminal prosecution and/or judicial processing.

What is the SU policy about students or employees with criminal records?

Before an offer of employment is extended, the accuracy of the information given to the University by the candidate regarding previous employment, educational attainment and other information including any criminal history is verified. Criminal history verification will be conducted by a contracted provider and a copy will be provided to the candidate, allowing them the opportunity to verify and respond to the findings. The University keeps this information in the strictest confidence. A candidate's arrest record will not be considered when making employment decisions, however criminal convictions will be considered.

Criminal conviction does not necessarily preclude employment with the University. When evaluating this information, the following will be considered: the nature and gravity of the offense, the amount of time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, evidence of rehabilitation, and the nature of the job in question. If the University administration discovers that a current employee has been convicted of a criminal offense, the University reserves the right to review the conviction in relationship to the employee's current position and, if warranted, take action to either reassign or dismiss the employee.

A student with a criminal record will not in all cases be barred from admission to the University. When an applicant indicates that they have a criminal record, the application is reviewed by the Dean of Enrollment Services and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Students who are convicted of a criminal offense after admission are subject to the University's judicial process. If the University finds the student responsible, penalties can range from probation to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense and whether the student has prior offenses.

What types of drug and alcohol abuse educational programs are offered at SU?

Drug and alcohol abuse education programs are available for students through the Division of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students Office. Programs for employees are available through the Human Resources Office at 109 Old Main. Programs involving counseling professionals, guest speakers, and extensive literature on these subjects are available through these offices. The mission of the Connection Alcohol and Other Drug Program is to cultivate within students a sense of personal accountability and empowerment to make healthy choices and responsible decisions regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs through a comprehensive program including prevention, education, intervention and community coalition activities.

The goals of the Connection Program are as follows:

  • To provide alcohol and other drug screenings to help students examine their patterns of use.
  • To act as a referral source, establishing necessary network contacts with University personnel and community agencies to assist students who are dealing with drug or alcohol related problems.
  • To provide effective education classes for students who are referred for the education series.
  • To provide an early intervention group to high risk students who are beyond education, but are not yet ready for professional treatment.
  • To seek out contacts to establish and implement support groups on campus. These should include but are not limited to AA, AL-Anon, NA, ACOA The Connection Education series is a four part series, two hours in length, described as follows:
  • Class 1 (Laws and Policies) reviews consequences related to campus policies, and federal, state and local laws regarding alcohol and other drug use. Discussion includes summary and misdemeanor alcohol related offenses and liability issues.
  • Class 2 (Alcohol and the Brain/Body) covers the physical and psychological effects of alcohol use.
  • Class 3 (Healthy Decision Making) is an interactive presentation regarding decision-making.
  • Class 4 (Other Drugs) focuses on the physical and psychological signs, symptoms and consequences of other drugs (i.e. heroine, cocaine, marijuana, club drugs, etc.).

What are the penalties for those criminally charged with the abuse of drugs and alcohol?

Shippensburg University students need to be aware of Local, State, and Federal laws as violations may have long term effects on their lives. Anyone in possession of illegal drugs or paraphernalia can be charged under PA title 18 Crimes Code with a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the illegal substances found. Penalties for a first offense upon conviction can include fines of no less than $500.00 and possible imprisonment up to 15 years.

Anyone who purchases, consumes, possesses or transports alcoholic beverages while being under the age of 21 can be charged under PA title 18 Crimes Code with a summary offense. Penalties upon conviction of a first offense can include fines up to $300.00 and will involve the suspension of driving privileges for 90 days. Anyone found to be furnishing alcohol to minors can be charged under PA title 18 Crimes Code with a misdemeanor offense. Penalties upon conviction can include fines of no less than $1,000.00.

In addition to the above criminal penalties, any student charged with these types of violations will also be referred to the Dean of Students Office for disciplinary action through the University Judicial process.

What programs are offered to educate and prevent sex offenses and what is the SU policy for reporting these offenses and assisting victims of reported sex crimes?

Educational programs to prevent rape, sexual assault and other types of relationship violence as well as how to respond to these types of incidents are presented by various departments on campus. The Women's Center, the Counseling Center, the Dean of Students Office, and the Student Health Center along with the Department of Public Safety are directly involved in conducting seminars, distributing literature and producing programming throughout the campus. Information regarding prevention and community response to sexual violence is presented during new student orientation programming.

Rape Educators and Contacts (REACT) is a program that supports survivors of sexual assault and educates the campus community on this issue. The REACT program is made up of compassionate students who volunteer and go through rigorous training recognizing the need to end violence and sexual assault. REACT is actively involved during orientation and throughout the academic year presenting programs related to various issues surrounding sexual assault and rape. Some of the topics that REACT typically presents are: Alcohol and Date Rape, Campus Rape, Steps to Maximize Safety, Taking Action, Filing Charges on or off Campus, How to Help a Victim/Survivor, Rape and Sports, Minority Women and Rape, Date Rape Drugs, Male/ Female Communications.

The University has established the REACT coordinators, which consist of staff members from the Women's Center, The Counseling Center, The Judicial Affairs Office and the University Police who review reported incidents involving students both on and off campus, who are survivors of sexual violence, in order to address specific issues and ensure that the survivors of these incidents are receiving assistance and support. The REACT coordinators are involved in the recruiting and training of students for the REACT program. Lastly, they review existing programs and brainstorm new ideas in order to increase awareness and to educate the community to respond proactively to issues of violence, especially sexual assault.

Survivors of rape, sexual assault and other types of relationship violence are encouraged to report these incidents as soon as they are able to the Department of Public Safety or the police department of jurisdiction. Timely reports are crucial to evidence collection and preservation. If survivors are unsure who they should contact, the Department of Public Safety will aid them in determining what agency would be responsible for the investigation in addition to providing information for their physical and psychological well being.

Survivors of sexual assaults should take every precaution to preserve all evidence of the assault by not tampering with any items at the scene, not changing clothing and not washing any area of their body. Upon receiving a report of a sex related crime, a police officer(s) will investigate the incident and assist the survivor in obtaining support from the University and County agencies that may be appropriate. The University will make every effort to accommodate survivor requests associated with academic and living situations that can reasonably be accomplished. Reasonable measures will be taken to avoid survivor/suspect contact until final disposition and due process take place.

Violators of sexual assault statutes can be prosecuted criminally and are subject to judicial proceedings as well. During judicial proceedings, both the survivor and the suspect have equal rights to have others present. Both the survivor and the suspect will be advised of the outcome of any judicial proceeding. A judicial hearing board may impose a sanction for violations of this nature including probation, loss of on-campus housing, suspension or expulsion from the institution.

Offices that can provide assistance to victims of sex crimes:

  • Department of Public Safety 717-477-1444
  • Office of the Dean of Students 717-477-1164
  • The Women's Center 717-477-1790
  • Etter Health Center 717-477-1458
  • University Counseling Center 717-477-1481
  • Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland & Perry Counties 717-258-4249 or 1-800-852-2102
  • Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Services of Cumberland County 1-888-727-2877
  • Women in Need (Franklin & Fulton County) 717-264-4444 or 1-800-621-6660

What is the SU policy concerning monitoring off-campus crime?

Shippensburg University works in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction in areas surrounding the campus, in order to monitor criminal activity at off-campus locations. The Shippensburg Borough Police and the Pennsylvania State Police routinely provides information to the University regarding incidents involving students residing or visiting within the Borough of Shippensburg or Shippensburg Township. All incidents received by these agencies that are known to involve students of the University are indicated as such through their reporting system. University police officers on patrol are equipped to monitor radio dispatches for other local police departments as well as other types of emergency services. Reports to the Department of Public Safety involving students as victims in off-campus incidents are recorded and assistance is rendered in regard to appropriate support services available at the University. Students who participate in illegal activity at off-campus locations are held accountable by means of the University judicial process.

How does SU report incidents for on-campus properties?

Statistics for on-campus properties include all incidents reported to the Department of Public Safety that occurred in any building or property owned or controlled by the institution located on campus and used to meet or support the educational purposes of the institution. These statistics also include all residential facilities on campus.

How does SU report incidents for campus residential facilities?

Statistics for residential facilities include all incidents reported to the University Department of Public Safety that occurred in the student residential facilities located on the campus. These numbers are also included in the On-Campus Property statistics.

How does SU report incidents for non-campus properties?

Statistics for non-campus properties include all incidents known to the University that are reported to local municipal and State Police agencies for incidents occurring at properties owned or controlled by student organizations and any educational facilities owned by the University but located off the main campus.

How does SU report incidents for public properties?

Reporting for public properties includes all incidents known to the University that are reported to local municipal and State Police agencies and occurred in areas geographically contiguous to campus property.

How does SU respond to crimes involving bias?

Shippensburg University supports and encourages programs that benefit all people and which seek to eradicate discrimination and injustice. The Department of Public Safety as well as the Social Equity Office, investigates any incident involving bias against any individual or group due to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability. Incidents of this nature are responded to immediately and are recorded by Public Safety separately from other incident types.


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