In an effort to provide timely notice to the Gettysburg College community in the event of a criminal situation that may pose a serious or continuing threat to members of the campus community, a Campus Safety Alert (timely warning notice) 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 as soon as pertinent information is available. 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 of the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report (ASR). The intent of a Campus Safety Alert is to warn the campus regarding a criminal incident, providing individuals an opportunity to take reasonable precautions to protect themselves.
Campus Safety Alerts are generally written and distributed to the campus community by the Executive Director of Public Safety or an Associate or Assistant Director of Public Safety, and they are routinely reviewed and approved by the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or Associate Vice President for College Life prior to distribution. The Executive Director of Public Safety or an Associate/Assistant Director of Public Safety have the authority to issue a Campus Safety Alert without such consultation if consultation time is not available. Should the Executive Director and Associate/Assistant Directors of Public Safety be directly impacted and involved in an incident response or otherwise unavailable, any trained member from the Communications and Marketing Office could write and send a Campus Safety Alert.
Campus Safety Alerts are sent to the college community to notify members of the community about specific Clery Act crimes (as described below) that have been reported to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and that have occurred on campus or on non-campus property or public property, where it is determined that the incident may pose a serious or continuing threat to members of the College community.
Crimes that occur outside the campus’ Clery geography, as stipulated or other non-Clery specific crimes, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Information related to these crimes may be distributed to the campus as a Public Safety Notice, as outlined and described in the ASR's policy statement for “Public Safety Notices.” Updates to the campus community, when deemed necessary, about any particular case resulting in a Campus Safety Alert may be: distributed via blast email, posted on the college website, shared with the Gettysburgian newspaper for a follow-up story, and/or distributed by the Executive Director of Public Safety or other members of the Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT), as deemed necessary and appropriate. 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 key buildings for a time period determined by the Executive Director of Public Safety or designee. Gettysburg College professional staff are informed of their responsibility to share Alert information with their sponsored visitors and/or guests. Conference Services staff are instructed to inform conference attendees, camp counselors, and/or directors/leaders about Alerts and Alert posters that may be posted in areas or residence halls where conference or camp attendees are visiting and/or occupying.
Campus Safety Alerts may be distributed for any of the following Clery Act crime categories/classifications: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, sex offenses (rape, fondling, incest, and statutory rape), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, hate crimes, motor vehicle theft, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or arrests and referrals for liquor law, weapons law, and drug law violations.
Alerts for the crimes of aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, burglary, sex offenses, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and arrests or referrals for liquor, drug, and weapons offenses 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, and the continuing or ongoing danger to the campus community—such as whether the perpetrator was apprehended, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts. For example, if a physical assault occurs between two students who have a disagreement, there may be no continuing threat to other Gettysburg College community members and a Campus Safety Alert would not be distributed.
Typically, alerts are not issued for any incidents reported that are older than ten (10) 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.
DPS supervisors confer with the Executive Director of Public Safety or an Associate/Assistant Director of Public Safety during incidents to ensure a proper review of all criminal and/or serious incidents to determine if there is a continuing threat to the community and if the distribution of a Campus Safety Alert is warranted.
Campus officials not subject to the timely reporting requirement are those with significant counseling responsibilities who were providing confidential assistance to a crime victim. At Gettysburg College, this would only apply to professional counselors from the Counseling Center and pastoral counselors who are performing that specific function and role as their primary employment with the College.