The University of Utah will hire a chief safety officer and will invest $1 million in campus safety initiatives.

The new chief safety officer position is one of more than two dozen recommendations made by the Presidential Task Force on Campus Safety, which University President Ruth Watkins reconvened in December to look at general safety practices and resources. 

The university will,invest approximately $925,000 to implement the group’s recommendations, which are in addition to approximately $6 million in safety expenditures that will be made by other campus entities over the next several years.

The task force recommendations also are in addition to 30 campus-wide improvements made following an independent team’s review of the university’s response in the Lauren McCluskey case.

“I am very appreciative of all the time, analysis and research task force members dedicated to this effort,” Watkins said. “Safety is a top priority for our campus and this committee brought forward many good ideas. We are determined to make this institution as safe as it can be.”

In addition to hiring a chief safety officer, some of the task force recommendations being implemented include:

  • Expand emergency mass communication capability by adopting a system that allows emergency messages to be communicated within buildings, including via desktop and landline telephone systems, and broadcast throughout campus grounds.
  • Add a Threat Assessment Team as an adjunct to the Behavioral Intervention Team, creating a two-team system capable of assessing both threats from outside and inside campus.
  • Increase self-defense training workshops on campus offered in conjunction with Survivors of Assault Standing Strong.
  • Contract with a third-party consulting firm to conduct a phased security assessment of all campus buildings and physical surroundings.
  • Hire additional security officers for every patient care building, human resource and information technology buildings on the Health Sciences campus.
  • Make situational awareness/defense training in conjunction with Survivors of Assault Standing Strong more broadly available on campus.
  • Develop new active shooter online training module.
  • Expand emergency mass communication capabilities.
  • End the ability of campus members to opt-out of alert notifications.

Recommended Future Actions

  • Develop reverse 9-1-1 system.
  • Create geo-fence to enable emergency alerts to be sent to cell phones of anyone on campus who is not already enrolled in alert system.