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The Plan


  • To communicate quickly and accurately with and to the University community – students, faculty and staff – about the crisis and/or issues via multiple communication vehicles (including, but not limited to, WVU Alert,, MOUNTAINEER E-News, student e-mail,, and the emergency website (
  • To provide timely and accurate information to the general public via external news media outlets (WVUToday, traditional and social media.)
  • To provide this information internally and externally without complicating the situation or compromising any resulting investigation or any confidentiality issues.

Levels of Crisis

  • Phase I — A limited response which can be managed by on-duty personnel.
  • Phase II — Situations (such as fire, shooting, protest, etc.) in which additional staff and resources are required.
  • Phase III — Situations (such as a terrorist attack, mass casualty situation) warranting a total mobilization of all UR/Communications personnel and other logistical support.

WVU Staff Notification Procedure

During regular working hours (Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.), the executive director of communications or his/her/their designee will be the primary contact.

Outside of regular operating hours, the executive director of communications or his/her/their designee will continue to serve as the primary contact. In the case of a Phase II or Phase III crisis, phone or text will be used to notify UR/Communications staff and selected others to assist with the crisis. At that time, assistance will be needed in areas such as information gathering, clerical, media relations, internet, social media, e-mail, WVU Alert and other communication tasks.

University Relations/Office of Communications staff should always have access to this document, either online or via mobile device, at home and office. This document includes the crisis plan, emergency contact lists, common media numbers and media tips.

Initial notification of a crisis will be sent immediately — or as quickly as possible. That notification will primarily be accomplished through the WVU Alert system, operated by the University Police Department and supported by University Relations/Digital.


WVU staff will send emergency messages as warranted in coordination with University Police. These alerts are sent by the University Police, in consultation with University Relations/Office of Communications when possible. However, if the consultation would result in a significant delay in disseminating the information, UPD will send alerts on its own initiative, using predetermined templates.

(A list of WVU Alert templates is available in the APPENDIX.

The WVU Alert system is a notification system that helps inform the University community about emergencies and incidents on or near campus. Emails and text messages are utilized to disseminate important information quickly and efficiently.

WVU’s three-tiered notification system — WVU Alert, Campus Warning and Community Notice — allows the University to communicate as effectively as possible with students, faculty, staff, parents and other community members with guidance provided by the Clery Act.

The three tiers are designed to differentiate between incidents with varying levels of urgency. The WVU Alert tier will deliver the most urgent messages affecting the campus while the Campus Warning tier will notify the community of less pressing incidents that may pose a threat. Community notices will be posted for incidents that don’t pose immediate danger or share information about ongoing topics of concern.


A WVU Alert is immediately sent when there is an imminent threat or impact to the safety of the campus community, including when the University is operating on a delayed schedule or closed due to emergency weather conditions.

Incidents in this tier could include:

  • acts of criminal violence, like an active shooter or a bomb threat,
  • civil unrest or rioting,
  • explosion,
  • hazardous materials incidents,
  • earthquake, tornado or other extreme weather conditions,
  • emergency weather-related delays or closures.

The campus community will be notified of incidents in this tier through all available modes of communication, including:

  • text message,
  • email,
  • social media posts from the @WVUalert Twitter account and WVU Safety and Wellness Facebook page,
  • website updates
  • infostation messages.

(Students are automatically enrolled in the WVU Alert system at the beginning of each semester if they have provided a valid cell phone number. Faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up for the alerts.)


A Campus Warning is sent when a Clery-reportable crime occurs within the area designated by the Clery Act, that are reported to Campus Security authorities (like WVU Police) or local police agencies and that are considered by the University to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.

These types of alerts are required by law. Incidents in this tier could include:

  • robbery,
  • burglary,
  • motor vehicle theft,
  • sexual assault,
  • hate crime,
  • arson,
  • aggravated assault,
  • homicide.

The University will use email communications and social media posts from the @WVUsafety Twitter account and the WVU Safety and Wellness Facebook page, as well as other channels of communication where necessary, to communicate these incidents to the campus community.


A Community Notice is sent in order for the University to enhance student and employee safety and provide useful information to the community.

These types of alerts are not required by law and are typically less urgent messages. In addition, these notices could be sent for incidents that occur outside of the Clery-reportable region and generally in the Morgantown area.

Incidents in this tier could include:

  • pedestrian safety protocols,
  • mental health resources,
  • crimes in areas outside those designated by the Clery Act, but where students and/or employees may be affected.

The @WVUsafety Twitter account and WVU Safety and Wellness Facebook page will be utilized to communicate these incidents to the community, as well as other channels of communication where necessary.



Contacts direct reports who may go to the scene to evaluate the situation and then to the Joint Information Center, located at the Monongalia Emergency Centralized Communications Office, 74 Mon General Drive. The executive director of communications or his/her/their designee may assign a staffer to go directly to the crisis scene to gather initial information, handle and assess media coverage and estimate staffing needs and serve as liaison with onsite emergency personnel.

Using group text or phone calls, the executive director of communications or his/her/their designee will notify the appropriate UR/Communications staff so they can begin reporting to various posts/responsibilities. (If text messages are not practical, or unavailable, revert to UR Phone Tree.)

The executive director or designee will supervise incoming and outgoing communication with news media via office phone, email, internet, social media, etc.

The executive director or his/her/their designee will also be responsible for communicating with other key WVU administrative staff (appropriate senior leaders, UPD, hospital communications unit, etc.) to keep each briefed on the extent and nature of the event. The executive director or designee will designate sites for media briefings (listed separately) and serve as the principle spokesperson. He/she/they will also help identify other WVU and local area spokespersons (such as president, police, fire chief, mayor, hospital officials, etc.) as needed and will work with them to develop messages. The executive director or designee, in cooperation with local public information officers and in consultation with the vice president of University Relations will have final approval on information to be released. He/she/they will stay in constant contact with UR/ Communications staff, key WVU administrators and other local officials; remain available by cell phone; and work with representatives website.



Supervise incoming and outgoing communications with employees and external audiences via WVUToday, Mountaineer E-News, Unews, etc. He/she/they will also contact other WVU employees to assist with communications efforts.


Monitor and post on social media, using appropriate outlets/accounts, e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc., sending information using all appropriate accounts, especially but not limited to @WVUToday, @WestVirginiaU. The senior director of marketing may also identify a social media designee to monitor social media platforms in long- running situations.


Unless otherwise instructed, others will report in to field media calls, help process information or head to scene if appropriate. The executive director or designee may, if the situation appears to become long- running, assign some to report immediately, and others to wait to report until a later time.


These supplies are stored next to the office copier on the 2nd Floor, Marina Tower.

Should the UR/Communications office in Marina Tower be unavailable, UR/Communications will set up at another campus location known as the Designated Crisis Communications Center (likely the College of Law, the Mountainlair or one of several places (see below) on the Health Science Center campus).

The supplies should include:

  • Crisis Communications Plan Notebook – To include this document, key communicators contact list, local/state/regional media contact list,
  • Mult boxes with proper cords.
  • Multifunction color printer (including scanning capabilities), network cables, telephone cables, extension cords, portable battery operated AM/FM radio, batteries, digital camera, computer paper.
  • Other – Branded backdrop, two branded pullups, portable podium, easels, letterhead, legal pads, Post-It notes, reporter notebooks, pencils, pens, markers, highlighters, easel poster paper, stapler and staples, paper clips, labels, blank nametags, duct tape, media parking passes, media credentials, campus maps, local maps, etc.


Small and large areas identified with adequate parking, satellite, phone and Internet access:


  • College of Law Event Hall (media work area also available)
  • Coliseum athletics facility (uplink)
  • Puskar Center (Athletics)
  • Mountainlair Ballrooms (media work area also available)
  • Health Sciences Center
    • Okay Patteson Auditorium, Fukushima Auditorium, Hostler Auditorium
    • Media Work Area: Health Sciences Center, 2940A-B


  • Visitors Center, One Waterfront Place (uplink)
  • Museum Education Center at Art Museum of WVU


  • Erickson Alumni Center


  • WVU Indoor Practice Facility
  • WVU Shell Building
Map of WV showing Morgantown, Keyser, and Beckley locations

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