UW releases update about on-campus safety


On Oct. 19, UW released an update which aimed to provide information on their actions in regards to improving safety and campus culture following the June 28 attack at Hagey Hall. 

The update details current and upcoming actions which UW hopes will ensure safety on campus in the event of future emergency situations. There are four areas the university identified as needing an update: emergency management procedures, emergency communications, safety and physical security, and campus communities, culture, and climate. 

Actions the university will be taking include improving notification methods, improving information exchange across campus, ensuring the emergency response structure addresses all areas of campus, further training of emergency protocols, expanding access to WatSAFE (UW’s emergency communications app), reviewing and updating the Emergency Communication Plan (including training for members of the Emergency Communication Team), and continued prioritization of physical security. 

UW also aims to build trust with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to create an “action plan”, as well as tackle antagonism and intimidation in academia. The university’s newest speaker series is one of the actions they will be taking to tackle intimidation in academia. 

The university also identified problems which occurred on the day of the attack. UW has stated that the problem was not with the WatSAFE app, but with delayed activation of the emergency notification system by those who had access to it. They also detailed communication delays, a lack of critical information, and a lack of coordination on the day of the attack due to their methods of assembly. The university is seeking to improve these methods to ensure a better response in the event of another emergency.

The university did report some positive findings, including the quick response from those trained in fire and first aid procedures as well as staff and students who “knew what to do” during the incident. 

The university says they will also be creating a task force in order to create principles that ensure “free expression,” “robust and respectful intellectual exchange,” and “open inquiry.” They stated that more information will be provided before the end of the year.