Students returning to classes this week will see safety enhancements around campus.
The university has enhanced emergency communications, training and campus facilities and grounds.
"Our goal is to work in partnership with students to provide the resources to ensure their safety and to help them take responsibility for their own well-being by being careful, making informed choices and taking full advantage of the programs in place," UT Police Chief August Washington said.
UT ALERT adds more subscribers
The university is continuing to increase the numbers of students, faculty and staff registered to receive UT ALERT text messages.
UT ALERT was instituted last year as an overall emergency communications plan, and so far about 19,000 campus community members are now subscribed to the text message service. UT’s text message vendor, e2Campus, has reported UT’s saturation rate is among the highest of all university customers.
The text messages are sent out for incidents such as university delays or closings, imminent danger or severe weather warnings.
Students, faculty and staff can sign up in person at two events early in the fall semester. The UT Police Department organizes "Safety Day" on Tuesday, Sept. 2; and "Fort Sanders Safety Day," organized by the Dean of Students Office, will be held Wednesday, Sept. 3. More information about those events will be announced closer to the dates.
Members of the campus community can sign up online anytime for UT ALERT at https://www.utk.edu/utalert/.
SAFE line is new to emergency communications
A new safety information hotline with recorded messages has been added to the UT ALERT system.
In the event UT ALERT text-messaging is activated, the campus community can call (865) 656-SAFE to listen to a recorded message with more information about the emergency.
UT Police train over summer
The UT Police Department organized and participated in tactical training sessions on campus during the summer and has doubled its mandatory training requirement for officers from 40 hours to 80 hours annually. This enhancement is one of several linked to a multi-year effort to gain accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
In one exercise, more than 130 officers from UTPD, the Knoxville Police Department and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office trained together in the largest such drill held involving all three agencies.
Students encouraged to walk 16th Street Corridor
With the addition of Volunteer Hall and the renovation and reopening of Laurel Residence Hall, UT has added new security amenities along 16th Street.
The 16th Street Corridor project is a joint effort by UT, the City of Knoxville and the Knoxville Utilities Board.
The project along 16th between Cumberland Avenue and Highland Avenue includes new street lights, security cameras and Code Blue emergency phones. The new phones are the first upgrades to the more than 100 current blue light phones around campus that will be replaced over the next few years.
Volunteer Hall is the former Knoxville Place that has been transitioned to University Housing for management. About 740 upperclassmen will live in Volunteer Hall this fall.
Laurel Residence Hall was used for married student housing and was closed for renovations last year. This fall, it will be occupied by approximately 630 female students who are members of UT sororities.
Both Volunteer Hall and Laurel Residence Hall have new security card access systems similar to other UT residence halls.
More information about UT’s safety initiatives can be found at http://safety.utk.edu.