How mass notification can help keep Historically Black Colleges and Universities safer and more connected everyday and during emergencies.
In the United States, February is Black History Month, an annual recognition of achievements of African American individuals and their roles in shaping United States history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated February as the month in which we recall the legacies of Black Americans who have contributed to the nation’s culture, education, medical and scientific communities and other national successes.
Regrettably, February 2022 was marked by threats of violence against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with over a dozen bomb threats across parts of the United States. These threats disrupted campus life for students and faculty, created emergency situations and shelter-in-place orders and terrorized individuals on and around campuses.
The widespread nature of the threats prompted Virginia governor, Glenn Youngkin, to seek emergency funding for improving campus security. Citing threats of violence, continued complications from COVID-19 mandates and other security concerns, the governor has asked the state’s General Assembly for funding specifically aimed to secure the state’s HBCUs.
The FBI has since opened hate crimes and violent extremism investigations into the threats but found no evidence of explosives on the targeted campuses. However, several HBCUs still closed as a result, in order to keep the lives of their students and staff protected.
These types of violent threats against HBCUs are to be taken very seriously. Over the past several years, the United States has seen a troubling number of violent acts against Black communities, churches and schools. For universities to remain safe institutions of higher learning, deliberate and proactive measures are called for.
Regroup’s genesis is in serving the higher education community. Since 2006, Regroup Mass Notification has provided solutions for alerting students and staff to potential dangers and critical situations. Used for active shooter warnings, severe weather notifications and other critical event management, Regroup understands the needs of universities and addresses them every day.
In order to keep a safe campus environment, many HBCUs have bolstered their security protocols by increasing surveillance technology, revising policies that govern access to campus and identifying areas of potential vulnerability. Mass notification is an important tool to all of these measures, whether for emergency alerts or day-to-day communications.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, universities have relied on Regroup to coordinate safe return to campuses and physical procedures and to keep staff apprised of public health policies. Regroup’s mapping layers also helped campus staff quickly identify possible virus exposures and notify the appropriate parties.
Regroup has also kept campuses safe and informed during severe weather events. Using our automated FEMA, NWS, NOAA and IPAWS alert integrations, college administrators are better able to stay one step ahead of emergencies by alerting students and faculty automatically when crisis weather conditions threaten the area.
Regroup also seamlessly integrates with a number of popular educational apps and software offerings to create a more coherent tool set for students, staff and faculty. Though keeping people safe is Regroup’s most important objective, we also strive to keep entire networks informed and productive with a simple and familiar user experience.
For HBCUs, safety will remain an important focus of day-to-day operations and procedures. Helping to minimize risks to students and staff requires community involvement, strong communication practices and the cooperation of families. At Regroup, we make these efforts easier and more intuitive with a platform that is robust but easy to employ for every level of end-user.
Your Next Steps
We invite you to download Regroup for Education. This quick read will show you how a smart communication plan, coupled with the right tools, can keep students and staff safer every day and during emergencies.