Feb. 27, 2023: Update on Coordination of Resource and Response Efforts
Since the night of February 13, I have been meeting daily with the university’s senior leadership team and every aspect of the university has been activated in our response. There are challenges we face that require multiple units to coordinate their efforts and in those instances unit leaders are collaborating to ensure we are aligned. I would like to share with you what four of those cross-unit efforts currently include.
- Safety and Security – The Department of Police and Public Safety has already begun its after-action review of what occurred February 13, what went well and what areas could be improved in the future. This review is led by the university’s Emergency Management Division that runs the university’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Michigan State University is one of the national leaders in emergency preparedness, having become accredited in emergency management by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) in October 2017. MSU was the fifth university in the world to achieve this distinction. In January 2023, MSU received a second accreditation term. The program builds in resilient planning, training and both tabletop and simulated exercise programs to better prepare MSU for all-hazards that may impact the institution. Simultaneously to and in coordination with the formal after-action review, Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Marlon Lynch continues to meet regularly with campus stakeholders as the university comprehensively and thoughtfully considers future safety and security recommendations for campus to ensure final decisions are well-informed by best practices. Faculty, staff and student voices have been and will continue to be integral to this review process. MSU Police and Public Safety is also working in close coordination with Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, Institutional Space Planning and Management, Student Life and Engagement and the Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance, among other offices, to evaluate and prioritize short and long-term recommendations.
- Supportive Resources – Dr. Alexis Travis, Assistant Provost and Executive Director of University Health and Wellbeing (UHW), is the university’s lead on providing the many counseling and other supportive resources to support the physical and emotional wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students. UHW is also closely coordinating efforts with other units on campus who play a role in offering similar resources, including the Provost’s Office, Office of Health Sciences, Human Resources, Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs, Student Life and Engagement and Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.
- Campus Healing – While there are many direct and immediate supportive resources needed across campus, there are also broader, often longer-term campus healing efforts already beginning. The federal Office for Victims of Crimes is providing guidance and support to the university on the entirety of our response efforts, but also specifically on best practices on broader support and healing efforts needed in the short and long-term. University Physician, Dr. Mike Brown, is providing internal coordination of efforts in this space as the university thoughtfully considers how different events, activities and physical memorials (short and long-term) can support campus healing. This includes being guided by faculty and staff experts in trauma response and resiliency and coordinating with offices such as University Health and Wellness, Student Life and Engagement and University Arts and Collections
- Financial Resources – Lisa Frace, Senior Vice President for Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, is working with the Provost Office, Office of Health Sciences, Executive Vice President for Administration, Student Life and Engagement, Financial Aid, Human Resources, University Purchasing and Logistics, University Advancement and Government Relations to coordinate internal and external resources available to support victim’s families, students who remain hospitalized, expanded supportive resources for campus and short and long-term safety and security enhancements.
These four cross-unit teams will continue coordinating efforts across their relevant areas and bring the voices of deans, faculty, academic staff and professional and support staff members into dialogue. We will also continue to provide timely updates to campus when decisions are made. Feedback on these matters are always welcome and I appreciate the many notes that have already been sent forward.
I know more work is ahead of us. But I have great confidence in our collective Spartan spirit and in moving forward together.
Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
MSU Research Foundation Professor