CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission wants to make sure colleges, and universities have a coordinated policy when it comes to safety.

Chancellor Dr. Paul Hill said the discussion actually got underway in the summer of 2012 after the derecho hit West Virginia, knocking out power to campuses, including dorms and classrooms.

Hill said it’s important, if there’s a weather-related event, violence on campus or an infectious outbreak in a dorm, the HEPC is on top of the situation.

“It’s simply a coordinated response to how those situation are handled on each campus and then how they’re reported back here to the central office,” explained Hill.

The chancellor said that will enable the HEPC to inform the governor’s office and office of emergency management so they can assist with any services that are needed.

Earlier this year, the HEPC hosted a campus planning event. It helped colleges and universities create best practices and how to partner with community agencies like the Red Cross. It also helped educate campus police, student services and other campus staff how to provide information to students about reporting crimes, locking their doors and being careful about what they share on social media.

“At a minimum we think this improves communications between all of the campuses and the central office,” stressed Hill.

The HEPC said campus officials who’ve dealt with an outbreak in a dorm or a situation where violence was as issue, can help offer suggestions to another campus that’s dealing with the same thing.

“We’re really starting a relationship between our campuses in that area, that quite frankly, didn’t exist before.”

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