Ashland University’s Safety Services has added features both around campus and online in order to provide students with a peace of mind.
Director of Safety Services Dave McLaughlin said the purpose of his role is to “provide an environment that helps students, faculty, staff and really the whole campus community achieve their goals.” This includes improving the services that are offered to students in cases of emergency, one of which is the Campus Shield app.
Campus Shield is an app for students to use to contact safety services or get notifications safety services send out about emergency related issues.
“It’s not just us pushing information out, the students can use it to give us tips, information on crimes, they can use the friend watch app” McLaughlin said.
Campus Shield has been downloaded and used by students and faculty since AU introduced the app to campus a couple of years ago. McLaughlin said that the usage has increased since the new COVID-19 feature was added.
The recreation center uses Campus Shield’s COVID-19 feature to determine whether students and faculty coming in could be symptomatic. The app provides a checklist that visitors have to fill out before entry.
Another resource the school provides are the blue police buttons around campus, located near several parking lots around campus, and in the main walkways.
“In the event of an emergency or [if someone is] in need of service, they can hit the phone and it comes through phone lines in the dispatch station here, which is manned 24/7,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said the blue police buttons were put up around AU before they had Campus Shield. Although many students go through the app when faced with an emergency, the police buttons are still available to use, and in some instances, could be more accessible.
“People very, very rarely use the blue lights because, as our campaign says, you have a blue light phone in your pocket,” McLaughlin said. “You’ve got that cell phone and it’s instant communication with just a few pushes of the buttons.”
Safety Services has many routines and protocols they follow in order to provide the maximum amount of safety for the AU campus.
“We patrol campus [and] we have officers on campus 24/7,” McLaughlin said.
Aside from doing their best to keep students and faculty safe, Safety Services also respond to fire alarms, maintenance issues, and they check doors to make sure everything is working properly and every area is properly open or closed.
“If you haven’t downloaded the Campus Shield app, please do so, especially now that we are entering the tornado season,” McLaughlin said.
According to the crime logs on the Ashland University website, there have not been many incidents compared to previous semesters, McLaughlin said.
“We may not have had any severe emergency calls this semester yet, but that’s not to say it can’t happen. We want to make sure people don’t let their guard down.”
McLaughlin said he wants people to know they can get a hold of safety services any time.
“If you see something, say something,” McLaughlin said. “If it doesn’t look right, just give us a call.”