Marketing & Communications

Crisis Communication

Working in conjunction with Emergency Operations Center and Police Services, the University Affairs Division is responsible for communicating with the campus community and the public during critical or emergency situations. This communication occurs via the mass notification system AlertU, NewsCenter and WorkPlace postings as well has SSU home page messages and through the media.

The University Affairs Division is responsible for communicating information about a University emergency or one related to the University. Police Services is responsible for dealing with the emergency itself. Types of major emergencies and crises could include one or more of the following conditions:

  • Earthquake
  • Epidemic
  • Explosion or Aircraft Crash
  • Fire
  • Active Shooter
  • Flood
  • Hazardous Materials Spill
  • Riot or Terrorist Activity
  • Severe Drought
  • Significant Power Outage

The University Affairs Division has a communication plan that allows the University to be both flexible and effective in responding to the news and information needs of the campus and outside community.

The Crisis Communications Team, working in conjunction with information from Police Services or, depending upon the severity of the emergency, the Policy Group of the Emergency Operations Group, and will use multiple mediums to reach and be in touch with as many people as possible with accurate, timely information through:

  • mass notification system (via texts to cell phones)
  • email if available
  • Facebook and Twitter postings
  • postings to the SSU home page
  • messages on the SSU emergency line: 1-888-533-5388
  • message on the SSU main line (707 664.2880) directing callers to the emergency line.

The campus community should make every effort to avoid contacting Police Services for information during an emergency as they will be fully engaged with dealing with the care and safety of the campus community. Please make the emergency line a first stop in receiving information and be as patient as possible as the first few hours of a major emergency require massive amounts of attention to detail, one of which is to inform the campus of details of a situation.

With public sentiment and scrutiny growing in higher education, the most important task ahead in these times is to offer a transparent look at the campus and a diligent distribution of facts and information, particularly during times of crisis or controversy.

The University must always tell truth and tell it quickly to protect public trust and to ensure that its reputation is not damaged. This is especially important in the first hours and days of an emergency. The goal is to be open, accountable and accessible to all audiences, although mindful of legal and privacy concerns.

The first wave of an emergency in this age of social media often sees news of a crisis hit the campus before the University is fully aware of all details. The challenge is to provide as accurate a set of facts as possible as quickly as they emerge to both the internal (faculty, staff and students) and the external community (parents, neighbors, elected officials, the general public).

Emergency Plan

The University's complete emergency plan can be found at:
www.sonoma.edu/ps/emergency/ssu_emergency_plan.html#executivesummary