In an effort to provide timely notice to the Gettysburg College community in the event of a serious incident, which may pose a serious or ongoing threat to members of the campus community, a Campus Safety Alert (timely warning) that withholds the names of victims as confidential and that will aid in the prevention of similar crimes is sent primarily by blast email to all students and employees on campus – alerts can also be sent/communicated via Gettysburg’s text/voice messaging system and a variety of other notification methods as outlined in the Emergency/Immediate Notification section.
Campus Safety Alerts are generally written and distributed to the campus community by the Executive Director of Public Safety or a designee, and they are routinely reviewed and approved by the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or a designee prior to distribution. The Executive Director of Public Safety has the authority to issue a Campus Safety Alert without such consultation if consultation time is not available.
Timely Warning Campus Safety Alerts are sent to the college community to notify members of the community about specific Clery Act crimes that have been reported to DPS and that have occurred on campus or non-campus property or public property, where it is determined that the incident may pose a serious or ongoing threat to members of the College community. Such timely warnings provide an opportunity for individuals to take reasonable precautions for their own safety.
Crimes that occur outside the campus’ Clery geography as stipulated, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Gettysburg College is not required by law to issue a timely warning alert for off-campus crimes; however, if there is a crime that poses an ongoing or serious threat, this information may be distributed to the campus as a Public Safety Notice, as outlined and described in the policy statement for Public Safety Notices. Updates to the campus community about any particular case resulting in a Campus Safety Alert may be distributed via blast email, may be posted on the college website, may be shared with the Gettysburgian newspaper for a follow-up story, and may be distributed by the Executive Director of Public Safety or other member of the campus emergency response team (CERT), as deemed necessary. Campus Safety Alert posters may also be posted by DPS in campus buildings when deemed necessary. When Campus Safety Alerts are posted in campus buildings, they are printed on red paper and posted in lobby/entrance areas of affected buildings for a time period determined by the Executive Director of Public Safety or designee.
Campus Safety Alerts (timely warnings) may be distributed for the following Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)/National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) classifications: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, hate crimes, and motor vehicle theft.
Alerts for the crimes of aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, burglary, sex offenses, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are considered on a case-by-case basis and depend upon a number of factors. These include the nature of the crime, the timeliness of the report, the continuing danger to the campus community - such as whether the perpetrator was apprehended - and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts. For example, if an assault occurs between two students who have a disagreement, there may be no ongoing threat to other Gettysburg College community members, and a timely warning Campus Safety Alert would not be distributed.
In cases involving sexual assault that can be typically reported long after the incident occurred, there is no ability to distribute a timely warning Campus Safety alert to the community. Sex offenses will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on when and where the incident occurred, when it was reported, and the amount of information known by the Department of Public Safety.
Typically, alerts or warnings are not issued for any incidents reported that are older than two weeks or 14 days from the date of occurrence as such a delay in reporting has not afforded the College an opportunity to react or respond in a timely manner.
The Executive Director of Public Safety or designee reviews all criminal and/or serious incidents to determine if there is an ongoing threat to the community and if the distribution of a Campus Safety Alert is warranted. Campus Safety Alerts may be issued for other crime classifications, as deemed necessary.
Campus officials not subject to the timely reporting requirement are those with significant counseling responsibilities who were providing confidential assistance to a crime victim, such as pastoral counselors and professional counselors.