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Session Descriptions

Session 1. Campus Shooter Response: Massachusetts State Police Training Program

The operational philosophy underlying a situational response has changed dramatically over the last several years and has evolved to what is now known as the "Active Shooter" paradigm. This session was conducted by the Massachusetts State Police which has been conducting training for higher education institutions and others regarding response to an active, ongoing threat.

Presenter: Trooper John L. Suyemoto, Massachusetts State Police

Session 2. Violence Prevention: Best Practices for Public Two-Year Colleges

Mount Wachusett Community College presented an overview of their emergency planning and preparedness policies and procedures. Focusing on improved communications and employee training, they provided information about their emergency contact system and facilities’ safety manual. The panel presented the college-wide planning process and important lessons learned over the past two years as they developed, tested and put into practice new policies and procedures.

Presenters: Patricia Ainsworth, Chief Information Officer, Mount Wachusett Community College; Lieutenant Jeffrey LaFrenier, Campus Police, Mount Wachusett Community College;
Ann McDonald, Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management, Mount Wachusett Community College; Ed Terceiro, Executive Vice President, Mount Wachusett Community College

Session 3. Individual Rights vs. the Need to Know: Legal and Ethical Issues presented by HIPAA and FERPA

The recent passage of federal laws protecting individual rights has created significant confusion as to where the rights of an individual end and where the needs of an organization to share certain information begin. This session clarified what federal statutes actually say, delineated the exceptions to the statutes and generally provided guidelines as to when an organization’s need to know supercedes an individual’s expectation of privacy.

Presenter: Paul Lannon, Esquire, Partner, Holland & Knight, LLP

Session 4. Post-Incident Response: Why Specialized Trauma Counseling is Essential

Providing a structured, supportive response to individuals and groups following a “critical incident” (a traumatic or highly distressing event) is viewed as essential to augmenting recovery. This session presented an evidence-informed model of care that incorporates Psychological First Aid and Post Traumatic Stress Management Groups currently used by Riverside Trauma Center in responding to incidents in Massachusetts. A discussion of a model of providing after-hours coverage for urgent mental health needs was also presented as a component of preventing violence that may be related to mental health crises. Riverside Trauma Center is developing a state-wide Trauma Response Network that uses evidence-informed models of responding to traumatic events.

Presenters: Larry Berkowitz, Ed.D., Director, Riverside Trauma Center; Tammy Bringaze, Ph.D., Director of the Counseling Center, Westfield State College; Jon Jaffe, LICSW, Division Director for the Family and Behavioral Health Division, Riverside Community Care; Linda S. Jones, Ed.D., Director of Counseling & Health Services, Salem State College

Session 5. Threat Assessment Teams: The Essential Elements

While most institutions have created Incident Response Teams, many institutions have not had the opportunity to focus upon and put into place processes to deal with preventing incidents or identifying, in a systematic way, individuals who warrant closer scrutiny or additional services. This session outlined the successful University of Massachusetts Amherst Threat Assessment Team, which focuses on behavior and serves as a model in public higher education.

Presenter: Jo-Anne Thomas Vanin, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Session 6. Text Messaging and Beyond: Why Emergency Notification Systems Involve More than Just Information Technology

Emergency Notification Systems (ENS) that can send Short Message Service (SMS) text and voice messaging to user cell phones have become an important new tool that can allow colleges and universities to quickly reach out to students and staff in the event of an emergency or crisis. There has been a great focus on the use of SMS text messaging within the higher education community since the Virginia Tech tragedy. The Massachusetts State Legislature appropriated funds last summer to ensure that all public higher educational institutions within the Commonwealth have the capacity to send text messages to students and staff in the event of an emergency. ENS systems that support SMS text messaging have been implemented at each of the public colleges within the Commonwealth, but it is important for everyone to understand that SMS-messaging is not a panacea; the SMS messaging tool needs to be integrated into an organization’s overall Crisis Management Plan as part of the total communication strategy in that plan. Representatives from the University of Massachusetts Medical School will share their ENS planning and deployment model with the group. The session was conducted in a round-table format to facilitate free and open discussion between participants.

Presenter: Bradford Ridley, Senior Director of Information Technology—Policy and Risk Management, University of Massachusetts



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