In the event that a crisis occurs on University property, the Communications & Media Relations Office needs to be notified as soon as possible. As chief spokesperson for the university, the Communications & Media Relations Office will ultimately be responsible for the communications efforts that relate to the crisis.
As such, Communications & Media Relations Office will coordinate communications efforts as appropriate with the university and/or other governmental agencies that may be involved in the crisis event. Communications & Media Relations Office will disseminate press releases, respond to media inquiries, produce radio and television announcements, maintain/update the university web site, provide logistics and support for press conferences, and serve in supporting other forms of communications as needed.
The individual who encounters the potential crisis or emergency should gather accurate information from the appropriate sources as quickly as possible. After fact gathering, the individual should contact the Campus Police immediately.
Authority and decision to activate the Emergency Preparedness Plan as a result of the emergency will follow the Chain of Command beginning with the President and CEO. If the President and CEO is unavailable, the administrator in charge will activate the plan.
In the event there is an emergency in progress, the Campus Police may take immediate action to safeguard the campus community through established police procedures while taking steps to notify the administration of the crisis or emergency situation.
Chain of Command
- Rear Admiral Robert Smith, President and CEO
- Dr. William Seitz, Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies Acting Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer
- Dr. Donna Lang, Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Rear Admiral William W. Pickavance, Superintendent, Texas Maritime Academy
- Ms. Susan Lee, Director, Associate Vice President Financial
- Mr. Grant Shallenberger, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Auxiliary Services and Interim Chief of Staff
- Dr. Tammy Holliday, Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies
- Mr. Steve Conway, Director, Computing Information Services
After assessing the nature and scope of the situation, the Executive Team member in charge will call together all available members of the Executive Team to execute the following plan:
Designate a spokesperson: In cases of a significant crisis, the President and CEO or administrator in charge will take the lead in conveying the administration's response to the crisis, showing that the campus has control of the situation, calming public concern and providing leadership for the entire campus.
Draft a fact sheet: The fact sheet will contain a summary statement of the situation including all known details to be released to the media. This information will be made available to (and approved by) the President and CEO in addition to copies provided to the Chancellor, President and Provost. This fact sheet should be scrutinized with respect to the public's right to know and concerns for privacy and security in consultation with the Office of General Counsel if necessary.
Notify key constituencies: Determine key constituencies that should be informed of the crisis. It is important to keep administration, faculty, staff, students and parents informed as appropriate of appropriate details and actions taken by the university during an emergency. The President and CEO or administrator in charge will notify the Chancellor, President and Provost in College Station of the crisis as appropriate.
The Campus Emergency Communications Protocols will be followed (See Appendix A)
Alert the media: Determine whether a news conference and or news release is an appropriate means of conveying information beyond the protocols used to notify faculty, staff, students, the news media and the public. The President and CEO or administrator in charge in consultation with the Director of Media Relations and Communications will determine logistics of the news conference including when, where and how the media will be contacted, which media will be contacted, who will supervise the news conference, who will appear, etc. The Campus Emergency Communications Protocols for Media Management will be followed.
Other spokespersons: Identify any other individuals besides those on the Executive Team who may serve as spokespersons or who might be made available to the news media; assign a public information staff person to provide counsel to those individuals.
Ongoing Procedures During Crisis
During the crisis or emergency, the Executive Team in consultation with the Director of Media Relations and Communications will monitor all news media for reports or updates related to the crisis.
Open communications: Over the duration of the crisis, open communications between the Executive Team and those responding to the crisis or emergency will be maintained. Redundant communication systems including the police 800 series radios, campus satellite phones and personal cell phones will be utilized in maintaining effective communication links.
Outside resources: In the event the campus resources and responders are overwhelmed by the crisis or emergency or additional resources are needed, the President and CEO or administrator in charge will contact the local Office of Emergency Management, local law enforcement or Texas A&M University to request assistance.
Following any crisis, appropriate action must take place to ensure that members of the campus community, and others as necessary, receive needed information and assistance to help bring closure to the crisis as well as relief from the effects of the event. Attention also should be placed on identifying and implementing measures to improve the Emergency Preparedness plan used during the crisis.
Communications: If needed, a public forum should be scheduled and coordinated by the Director of Media Relations and Communications to communicate details of the incident and events to all interested members of the campus. The timeliness of this meeting is critical and every effort should be made to see that it occurs within three work days from the close of the crisis. Representatives from the Executive Team, Campus Police, Student Affairs, Human Resources, Employee Assistance Program, as well as the Counseling Office should attend and be prepared to answer questions and share pertinent information. Specific departments and/or individuals also may be requested to attend and participate depending upon the nature of the crisis.
Immediately following a crisis: It is imperative that the campus be sensitive to the needs of faculty, staff and students who may have been personally affected by the crisis. There may be a need to assist a victim or victims with obtaining information and/or a referral to available resources. Human Resources will be the contact for employee assistance and Student Affairs for student assistance.
Rumor control: It is not unreasonable to expect that rumors would follow a crisis, further creating an atmosphere of anxiety. As a preventative measure, the campus Website will continuously be updated following the crisis to address rumors and provide additional information as it becomes available. All inquiries to the crisis will be directed to the Director of Media Relations and Communications.
Ten day follow up: The Executive Team shall meet within 10 days following a crisis and review all actions taken as a result of the crisis to determine effectiveness and efficiency of operations and make any needed changes to the Emergency Preparedness Plan and Emergency Communications Plan and Protocols.
Emergencies can occur at any time and without warning. Careful application of the Campus Emergency Communication Plan and Protocols will assist the Texas A&M University at Galveston campus community in responding appropriately to crises and emergencies and effectively manage the media. Continued evaluation and refinement of this plan is necessary and should be initiated on an annual basis.
In the event of a serious emergency or accident involving TAMUG students, faculty and/or staff, the campus will immediately enact the following procedures for managing the media:
Office of the President and CEO
- The President and CEO will notify the Provost and President of TAMU of the crisis or emergency situation.
- The Director of Media Relations and Communications will be responsible for interfacing with the TAMU Office of Marketing and Communications to inform the College Station campus of the emergency and coordinate additional support and secure their assistance, if needed for media relations.
Computing Information Services
- CIS will establish a media center in Sea Aggie Center 601 or PE Building 107 to accommodate the electronic and data outlet needs of the responding media.
- If the incident occurs at the Fort Crockett or Teichman Road campuses, media will be re-directed to Mitchell Campus on Pelican Island.
- Campus Police will secure the crisis area and the media center.
- Non-campus and non-emergency personnel will not be permitted in the area of the emergency.
The President and CEO or administrator in charge will serve as the chief spokesperson for the campus.
If employees or students are called by outsiders or members of the media, they should refrain from comment and refer the individual to the Incident Command Center.
As soon as reasonably possible, the Director of Media Relations and Communications will provide the media with a statement. The statement will be constructed based on the best available information.
The media will be notified of the next update. Updates will be given by either the President and CEO or administrator in charge.
Employees should be mindful of potential video cameras and cell phone photography and their coverage of the incident at the scene.
If/when a media representative arrives on the campus, anyone encountering the media should contact the Director of Media Relations and Communications at extension 4830 or cell phone 409-795-4113. If the Director of Media Relations and Communications is unavailable, then contact campus administration. An authorized administrator in charge will then act as necessary.
The Director of Media Relations and Communications will report to the established media center and activate assistance from one or all of the following groups: Financial Management Services, Human Resources, Admissions and Records, Naval Science or the Texas Maritime Academy.
- These media assistants may be assigned to either the main entrance of the Mitchell Campus or the North entrance of the Mitchell Campus or other locations to intercept and guide representatives to the media center.
- The role of the media assistant will be to escort arriving media representatives to the media center. Staff members will not answer media questions about any crisis situation without the express consent and instruction of either the Director of Media Relations and Communication or administrator in charge.
Campus community members affected should be discouraged from agreeing to provide media with an interview. If they do, assistance will be provided by the Director of Media Relations and Communications. A designated member of the Executive Team should be present during interviews to ensure that ground rules are followed and inappropriate questions are not addressed.
The Director of Media Relations and Communications will notify the following people in College Station and request assistance as appropriate:
Vice President for Marketing and Communications
TAMU Department of Marketing & Communications
Office: (979) 845-2217
Associate V.P. for Communications
TAMU Department of Marketing & Communications
Office: (979) 862-2369
Chief Communications Officer
Office: (979) 458-6023
Information concerning the emergency will be communicated as appropriate via E2 Campus, the TAMUG website and local media sources as information becomes available.
Media updates will be provided at least every four hours or as deemed necessary by the President and CEO or administrator in charge.
All external local government agencies (City Mayor, County Judge, etc.) will be notified of any developments with the crisis or emergency situation as soon as possible.