Campus Safety Overview

A Commitment to Campus Safety

Westfield State University is committed to enhancing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and visitors to its campus. As part of this commitment, the university has prepared this Campus Safety Overview, containing an introduction to university systems and information relating to campus safety, emergency management and the health and welfare of the campus community.

The following sections summarize important information you should know now about campus safety and security:

Emergency Communications for the Campus and to the Public

Westfield State has developed many resources and tools for crisis communications with the Westfield State web site serving as the primary source of emergency and other critical information for the campus.

  • A Campus Warning System (mass notification alarm system) was installed in 2012. It is tied into the fire alarm and includes exterior sirens mounted at strategic locations across campus. Live voice instruction can be given over the system. System expansion including building interiors will occur as buildings are upgraded and renovated.
  • The Emergency Notification System rapidly communicates emergency warnings and/or notifications directly to students, faculty, and staff three (3) ways: via voice message to all on-campus phones, via e-mail to all Westfield State University e-mail addresses, and via text/voice message to cell phones. This is an opt-in service. Sign-up and learn more here.
  • Emergency Phones are installed across campus. In an emergency, simply press the emergency button to notify Campus Safety of your emergency and need for assistance.

Preventing and Responding to Violence and other Campus Emergencies

One of our greatest strengths is our caring, connected community. Many different departments and committees play a role in ensuring individuals feel safe, informed and prepared.

Department of Public Safety is a professional police department certified by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Program. Administratively, campus safety and security is the primary responsibility of the Department of Public Safety, overseen by the Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police, who is responsible to the university’s vice president of student affairs.

The office is staffed by 13 commissioned officers with police powers, plus 2 full-time and 9 part-time institutional safety officers (ISO’s). The department is the lead agency in providing personal safety training to the campus and offers general crime prevention programs. Training classes include Active Shooter/Workplace Violence, Clery Reporting, RAD (Rape Aggression Defense), and Crime Prevention. Presentations are made to campus throughout the year and can also be made upon request.

  • Public Safety has conducted Active Shooter Training exercises in conjunction with the City of Westfield police and the Massachusetts State Police since 2004. Additionally, members of the University police receive training from a certified firearms instructor and qualify each year with their duty weapons.

The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is a command structure established to enhance efficiency and communication in the event of an emergency.  The ERT meets monthly to plan and review campus safety procedures. 

  • Members of the whole team have received Incident Command Training and participate in table top drills conducted by the University in consult with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
  • Recently, the ERT was put into action during the 2009 H1N1 Flu Pandemic, the 2011 October snowstorm and in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.

STAT (Student Threat Assessment Team) reviews concerns and reports on students who may pose a threat to campus. STAT meets monthly to review any concerns referred by the campus community and provide intervention as needed.  Concerns may be reported by contacting the Dean of Students at x5425.

The Counseling Center offers a range of services – including individual counseling; substance abuse prevention and education; crisis intervention; consultation services for parents, staff, and faculty; workshops and outreach programs; online mental health screenings; and a resource library. The Counseling Center also has an On-Call Counselor available during day and nighttime hours (see specifics listed below).

  • On-call Counselors are available Monday-Friday from 9-5 for walk-in crises, urgent needs, and consultation for Westfield State community.
  • After-hours On-call counselors respond to after-hours crises and can be contacted through the Residence Director on duty or by calling Campus Police (911 or x5262).
  • Westfield Crisis also offers 24-hour crisis services and works closely with the WSU Counseling Center. Westfield Crisis: (413) 568-6386
  • Staff are licensed and must receive continuing education units (CEU’s) on trends in the field in order to maintain their license.
  • Two staff are certified suicide prevention trainers and offer free suicide awareness and prevention trainings to the Westfield State community.

Faculty As A Helping Resource

Faculty are in a unique position to help students in distress. Students hold professors in high esteem and therefore, faculty are in the position to offer them the kind of advice and direction that they will consider carefully. If you have a question regarding the college's policy on student conduct in the classroom, please refer to the Classroom Student Conduct Policy.

Health Services provides coordinated health care, wellness education and disease prevention with the goal of enabling students to achieve their academic goals. Health Services directly managed efforts around the 2009 H1N1 Flu pandemic.

  • All medical emergencies should phone Public Safety at x5262 or dial 911.
  • Emergencies are transported to Noble Hospital by Public Safety or ambulance.

Health Services is located in the Scanlon Hall Annex and can be reached at x5415.

Drills, Building Access and System Testing

  • Fire drills are conducted in each residence hall during the fall and spring semesters to ensure that students and staff are aware of proper evacuation procedures.
  • All campus warning systems are tested annually according to state regulations.
  • The University updated the residential halls access control system in 2012. A proximity card must be used to enter all residence halls.
  • All doors on residence halls are locked 24 hours a day.
  • Corridor classroom doors in Wilson and Bates Halls have been replaced with new fire rated doors with marbled glass that allows light but maintains privacy. Corridor office doors were replaced with no glass. These doors are equipped with new locks including a deadbolt activated from the inside.
  • A Closed Circuit TV system monitors the South lot parking area and Juniper Park Elementary School. Additional installations are being evaluated.

Mutual Assistance and Memorandums of Understanding (MOU)

Westfield State University Department of Public Safety has statutory law enforcement jurisdiction over the Westfield State campus. It has mutual aid agreements with local, state and federal agencies including Massachusetts State Police, City of Westfield police and fire departments, the City of Westfield Emergency Management Agency (WEMA), Western Massachusetts MEMA office, Gateway Regional High School, Stanley Park and other agencies. These agreements outline the authority, liability, financial obligations and equipment used by each agency.

The City of Westfield provides fire, emergency medical services and major HAZMAT response to the Westfield State campus.

The mutual aid agreements are reviewed annually and updated as needed.