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Presidential Commission on Safety & Security

  • Office of Emergency Management


NOVA's Administrative Council has reviewed and approved the Presidential Commission on Safety and Security Report to begin implementation.

The Implementation Plan for Recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Safety and Security has been approved and completion of the recommendations has begun.

Memo From the President

NOVA has always sought to have in place sufficient resources to ensure the safety and security of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the campuses. Subsequent to the tragic event at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, NOVA enhanced its safety and security capacity with the establishment of an Office of Emergency Planning and with focused efforts to address issues of student mental health and safety. The College’s resources were severely tested on December 8, 2009, when a NOVA student brought a high powered rifle to the Woodbridge Campus and attempted to shoot the instructor in his class. Fortunately, the shooter was unsuccessful in his intention, and no one was physically harmed. The incident demonstrated a number of strengths in NOVA’s capacity to respond to such an incident; it also revealed other areas where improvements should be made. An After Action Report for the incident is being prepared by the Office of Emergency Planning. 

Following up on this focused review of the Woodbridge Campus incident, I am creating the NOVA Presidential Commission on Safety and Security. The Commission, chaired by our Executive Vice President, Dr. John Dever, is asked to comprehensively assess the adequacy of college resources for anticipating and responding to all conditions and emergencies that threaten the safety and security of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the college, its campuses and other locations where NOVA functions are conducted. The Commission should give primary attention to those situations where violence or disruption might be perpetrated by disturbed students, employees, or visitors. But it should also take into account other threatening conditions and emergencies, such as severe weather, HAZ-MAT, endangerments to public health.

Specifically, the Commission is asked to review a number of different areas of institutional operation, as noted below, and to determine the extent of their adequacy. The Commission should note strengths and weaknesses of existing systems/infrastructure, and it should make recommendations for improvements and augmentation as it determines these are warranted. The work of the Commission should be primarily forward looking, ensuring that lessons learned from the past and best professional practices are used to ensure that NOVA is well positioned in its planning and capacity to respond to any future incidents or conditions that threaten the safety and security of the college community.

Among the areas of to be reviewed by the Commission are the following:

  • The institutional offices and units concerned with safety and security, to include College Police, Office of Emergency Planning, Office of Safety, Office of Student Mental Health and Behavior, Student Services, Human Resources, Information Technology and Public Information, should be aligned so as to generate the synergy for a “College Safety Network.” Are the organizational range and depth sufficient, or are there gaps in needed coverage and services? Is there adequate communication, coordination, collaboration among these various units? Is there adequate college-wide and campus-based leadership for issues related to safety and security? Are the respective college-wide and campus-based roles and responsibilities clearly delineated and understood by all affected parties, with resulting strong communication and coordination between the college and the campuses? Is the chain of command adequately defined and understood by all parties?
  • Is there adequate joint planning and structured coordination between college units and community counterparts, e.g., local police, fire, EMS, and mental health units?
  • Are there adequate structures and processes for reporting, identifying, assessing and responding in a timely manner to potential threats to safety and security?
  • Are protocols and systems adequate for reporting and responding to actual emergencies?
  • The college has a security master plan; emergency operations plan, to include incident management; Emergency Planning Committee; NOVA Emergency Response Team (and backups); emergency exercises and drills; Emergency Operations Center; and a building warden system.
  • Are the associated plans, roles, responsibilities sufficient, clearly understood and adequately coordinated?
  • Are the infrastructure, operational coordination and overall performance of the college’s emergency communication system adequate? Components to review include communications through phones, cell phones, texting, public address systems, message boards, public media and consideration of a people locator system.
  • Are faculty and staff provided with adequate resources and training in regard to violence prevention, dealing with potentially threatening people and situations and responding in emergency situations?
  • Is the campus physical infrastructure, to include locking systems and emergency power, adequately designed and equipped to support safety and security?
  • Do the units responsible for safety and security have adequate staffing, budget, equipment and other needed resources?
  • Are sufficient strategies and programs in place to decrease the likelihood of another incident such as the one at Woodbridge on December 8?

The Commission should make its report as promptly as possible, but no later than April 30, 2010.

Robert G. Templin, Jr.
President's Office

P.C.S.S. Members

NOVA Presidential Commission on Safety and Security Members

  • John Dever, Executive Vice President, Academic & Student Services, Chair of the Commission
  • Raymond Bailey, Professor of History, Manassas Campus
  • Charles Errico, Professor of History, Woodbridge Campus
  • Pat Gary, Instructor of Mathematics, Manassas Campus; Chair, College Senate
  • Sam Hill, Provost, Woodbridge Campus
  • Laura Jacyna, Acting Dean, Natural & Applied Science Division, Loudoun Campus
  • Peter Maphumulo, Provost, Alexandria Campus
  • Ruth Stanton, Associate Director, Information Support Services, Medical Education Campus
  • Frederick Tittmann, Business Manager, Annandale Campus
  • Arthur Tomayo, Student Government Association President, Woodbridge
  • Dianne Tuininga, Vice Chair, NOVA College Board
  • Michael Turner, Dean of Students, Woodbridge Campus
Resource Persons
  • Cheryl Creed, Acting Chief, NOVA Police
  • Will Flagler, Director, Emergency Planning
  • George Gabriel, Vice President of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment
  • Dimitrina Dimkova, Vice President, Finance
  • Pat Lunt, Special Assistant for Student Mental Health & Behavior
  • Marlene McCabe, Associate Director Employee Relations
  • Steven Sachs, Vice President, Instructional & Information Technology
  • Roger Tancreti, Facilities Planning & Safety