Campus Life

About the Department

The Mars Hill University Department of Safety and Security is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days per year to provide comprehensive safety and security and emergency management services to our university community. Mars Hill University has a relatively low crime rate when compared to many college campuses. The rural location, historically low crime rates, and excellent working relationships enjoyed with area Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Emergency Management organizations helps the university effectively manage risk and maintain a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The Department of Safety and Security is a non-sworn campus safety and security agency led by a Director of Safety and Security (Rick Schwein). The staff consists of a Chief of Security (Denise Griffin), four full-time Campus Security Officers (CSO's), three part-time Campus Security Officers and a part-time office manager. The staff is highly trained and the Campus Security Officers have been certified by the university to standards that closely mirrors the North Carolina standards for professional security guards and the recently adopted certification standards for Campus Security Officers developed by the state of Virginia. All members of the campus security staff are certified in First Aid, CPR and AED. The staff currently includes several retired or former law enforcement and corrections officers.

The Department of Safety and Security staff is further augmented by work-study students who serve as "Campus Guides" and provide limited safety and security related services such as assisting with campus patrol, providing student escort services, assisting in traffic and crowd control, helping during emergency calls, providing crime prevention information and conducting other duties as required under the supervision of a Campus Security Officer. "Campus Guides" must also complete a training program.

Additionally, residential life personnel live in each residence hall where they oversee the behavior of the residents and monitor the condition of the fire safety equipment, exit lighting and report any life safety hazards. Residential Life staff, often in conjunction with the Department of Safety and Security, conduct mandatory meetings with the residents to discuss life-safety issues and provide programming in areas related to crime prevention, fire safety, sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse and other life safety related issues. The Residential Life staff helps define the behavior expected of students by modeling appropriate behaviors and assisting in the enforcement of campus rules. Residential Life staff also monitors access to the buildings and enforces the university visitation policy.