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Emergency Notification and Campus Communication Systems

The following is the full policy as it appears in the Vassar College Regulations, Part D. Emergency Resources and Information.

The college has developed multiple means of communicating emergency information, including the Vassar College website at, automated telephone and text messaging, an emergency siren, and other means.

A. Automated Telecommunications/Email/Text Message Systems

Computing and Information Services, in collaboration with the Office of Communications and the Office of Safety and Security, has installed, maintains, and tests emergency communications systems capable of sending automated telephone calls, emails, and text messages to the entire student body and workforce.

Twice a year the college tests the automated telephone and text systems by sending a text message to cell phones (students and employees) and recorded voice messages to cell phones (students and employees) and home phones (employees only) whose users have contact information registered in Banner. These tests are always announced in advance. All students and employees are encouraged to provide contact information that can be used in the event of an emergency.

B. Responses to Emergency Siren on Campus

A violent incident on campus is something none of us expects to experience. Preparation for what to do in such instances is essential, however, and the college provides regular information sessions for students and employees. Below is a summary of main points to follow. Remember: THINK, RUN, HIDE, DEFEND.

THINK: Except for testing announced in advance, the emergency siren will be sounded only in response to an imminent life-threatening event, such as the presence of an active shooter. Unless you know it’s a test, stay where you are with doors locked if possible until you have been able to assess your circumstances. The college will use its emergency communications system to send information as quickly as it can via text message. The most important first step is to THINK through your situation.

RUN: If the location of the problem is clear and it is obvious you can flee to a safer location, your best option may be to RUN.

HIDE: If fleeing doesn’t seem like a safe option, HIDE in the most effective way you can:

Lock or barricade your door, turn out the lights, silence your cell phone or other device that could indicate your presence. Move away from doors and windows. If you are in an office, hide under your desk if you can and pull your desk chair under the desk.

DEFEND: If you are near the source of the gunfire, you may need to DEFEND yourself. Look around for what may be suitable objects that you can use to disarm or disable the perpetrator — fire extinguisher, chair or other furniture, for example. If you are with other people, form a plan to protect yourselves.

Whether or not you hear the siren, if you hear what sounds like gunshots, assume they are gunshots and consider your immediate options to avoid the perpetrator.

For questions and comments, please contact the Office of Safety and Security, (845) 437-5200. Information is also available at

In an emergency, call Security at (845) 437-7333.