Campus Life

Safety and Security Services

The Department of Safety and Security is responsible for the overall safety and security of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Mars Hill University campus. The department is also responsible for crisis response, crisis management and emergency planning at Mars Hill University. It tailors safety and security services to meet the unique needs of the Mars Hill University community. The primary role of the department is prevention based on a high level understanding of vulnerability and risk. The department also serves as a conduit to campus judicial authorities as well as area Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Emergency Management agencies and can facilitate timely deployment of any of these services or resources as required. Finally, the department is trained to preserve evidence and document potential violations of campus judicial policies as well as local, state or federal law and will refer any information or evidence developed to the appropriate investigating enforcement agency as required.

Campus safety and security services include, but are not limited to, the following:

Residence Hall and Campus Building Security: Campus Security officers patrol the campus to assure a high level of physical security. They lock and unlock administrative and classroom buildings on schedule and as required. As a regular part of their patrol duties, they also look for any safety problems such as defective lighting, inoperative doors or locks, and any other conditions which might pose a risk. Security is a responsibility of everyone and you can take an active role by reporting all security-related conditions to Campus Security by calling 828-689-1230 or by notifying the Facilities Department at 828- 689-1246 for any issues requiring their expertise. Residence halls are protected by access card locks and keys that allow only authorized individuals to enter buildings, offices and rooms. Do not loan or give your key or ID card to another student or guest. Report all lost or misplaced keys and ID cards immediately. It is very important to the security of all residents to make sure doors are never propped open. It is the responsibility of each resident to follow this guideline and close doors that have been propped open. It can be dangerous to provide access to the building to unauthorized individuals.

Crime Prevention: While Mars Hill University enjoys a relatively low crime rate, crimes do occur on campus. Crimes on campus are thoroughly documented and referred to the appropriate investigating agencies. Crime on campus is documented in the annual Clery (Security) Report. Daily crime logs are available for review upon request. While violent crime, such as violent assaults and sexual violence are rare, drug and alcohol violations and property crimes occur more frequently. The most commonly occurring crime on campus is petty theft. Students are encouraged to report any crime to campus security immediately. The Department of Safety and Security can also engrave and photograph your valuables free of charge as a deterrent to theft. A comprehensive MHU Safety and Security Handbook: A Guide for Students, Faculty and Staff detailing tips for staying safe in a number of different environments and circumstances inherent to a university setting is currently under construction, however, in the interim students may find the following crime prevention tips helpful:

In Your Residence:
-Keep doors and windows locked
-Don’t let strangers in and report lost keys or broken locks immediately

Protecting Your Valuables and Your Vehicle:
-Register your bike and keep it inside your room or locked to a bike rack
-Consider engraving valuables with an identifying number such as your driver’s license number and mark clothing with your name.
-Don’t leave your laptop, cell phone or other valuables unattended.
-Carry your purse, backpack or briefcase securely and close to your body.
-Stay alert at ATM’s and conduct your business quickly.
- Lock your vehicle and don’t leave valuables or packages in plain view.

When You are Out and About:
-If you feel in immediate danger, call 911.
-Make smart choices and know where emergency call boxes on camps are located.
-Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
-If you feel uncomfortable and require an escort, call campus security.
-Travel in groups and avoid going out alone at night.

Avoiding Sexual Violence:
- When you’re preparing for a date or a party, take care of yourself first.
-Have enough money to pay for your meal and transportation home, if necessary. Have your cell phone charged and with you. Program a cab company phone number into your directory.
-At parties and bars, keep a friend in sight. Watch out for each other, and check in from time to time to make sure you’re both comfortable with how things are going.
-Trust your instincts. If you find yourself in a situation where something feels wrong, look for a way out of the situation—move closer to other people or seek out a safe way to get home.
-Don’t ignore sudden feelings of mistrust just because you have known someone for a long time. You can’t tell if a person has the potential to commit sexual violence based on past behaviors.
-Never leave a drink unattended or accept a drink that you did not see poured. Date-rape drugs can leave you unable to protect yourself, or even know what is happening to you.
-If you’re going to drink, stop when you begin to feel the effects of alcohol. The more you drink, the harder it is to know when to stop. When you’re drunk, you are more vulnerable.
-Take assertiveness training and self-defense classes. Passive and submissive behaviors can be dangerous. If you become frightened, do your best to be assertive. Speak loudly and firmly or yell.
-If you are sexually assaulted, go to a clinic or emergency room immediately. Do not change clothes or shower in order to preserve any potential evidence. You can decide later whether or not to press charges, but it is critical that you receive medical attention and caring support as soon as possible.

Program the Following Emergency Numbers into Your Phone:

Emergency: Dial 911
Campus Security: 828-689-1230
Campus Medical: 828-689-1243
Campus Counselor: 828-689-1196
Mars Hill Police: 828-689-2301
Mars Hill Fire: 828-689-2022
Madison County Sheriff: 828-649-2721

IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF CRIME, REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY TO CAMPUS SECURITY.

Fire Safety and Fire Prevention: Fire is a serious threat to life, health and property. Because of this, all students, faculty, staff and visitors are expected to follow the building evacuation plan when an alarm is sounded. Evacuation plans are posted on the back of all resident hall room doors and in the hallways of all floors in all buildings on campus. Announced and unannounced fire drills will be conducted each semester in all residence halls and in the administrative and classroom buildings on campus. It is mandatory to evacuate a University building when a fire alarm sounds. According to North Carolina General Statute 14-286, it is unlawful for any person or persons to wantonly and will fully give or cause to be given, or to advise, counsel, or aid and abet anyone in giving a false alarm of fire, or to break the glass key protector, or to pull the slide, arm or lever of any station or signal box of any fire alarm system, except in case of fire. It is also unlawful to misuse or damage a portable fire extinguisher, or in any way willfully interfere with, damage, deface, molest, or injure any part or portion of any fire alarm, fire detection, smoke detection, or fire extinguishing system. Fire safety equipment (alarms, extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinklers) are to be used only to warn people a fire exists or to attempt to put out a fire, Do not disable a door closer, remove a smoke alarm battery or modify fire protection equipment in any way. These are violations of NC statutes and potential judicial conduct board violations. When an alarm sounds, you are required to exit the building and remain in the designated assembly area until an “all clear” is given.

In Case of Fire:
-Stay calm and get out quickly. Follow your escape plan. Don’t stop for valuables and NEVER take the elevator.
-Pull the fire alarm to warn others, close the door behind you to limit the spread of fire. Stay low-smoke rises. Crawl if necessary and if you have time, put a wet cloth over your face.
-Feel doors and don’t open if they feel hot or warm or you see smoke seeping in. Use your secondary escape plan.
-If you are trapped, call the fire department and let them know where you are. Keep doors between you and the fire closed. Use cloths to cover vents and gaps around doors. Signal for help using a flashlight or brightly colored cloth.
-Once you get out of the building, go to your designated meeting area and stay there until the “all clear” is given.

Explosives/Flammable Materials and other fire hazards: Explosives, including fireworks, lighter fluid, charcoal and other highly flammable materials is not allowed in the residence halls. This includes motorized vehicles such as motorcycles and motor scooters. Smoking or any other open flames from candles, incense, oil lamps, kerosene heaters etc. are also prohibited. Electrical space heaters, air conditioners, appliances with open coils (hot plates), are prohibited. Do not drape material over lamp shades or light fixtures. Use heavy fusible power strips instead of extension cords and do not overload the power strips. Hallways and stairwells must be kept clear of any blockage including furniture, bikes, recycle bins, trash containers, etc. Do not prop open fire doors and never block the exit to your room.

Maintaining a Alcohol and Drug-Free Campus: Mars Hill University is committed to maintaining a alcohol free and drug free campus. Violations of rules pertaining to drugs and alcohol can be anonymously reported thru the link appearing in the contact information above. The Department of Safety and security will conduct logical investigation into allegations of violations of campus alcohol and drug rules and will refer their findings to appropriate campus and off-campus officials including the campus judicial board and area law enforcement agencies.

Emergency Assistance and Emergency Response Planning: The Department of Safety and Security is responsible for facilitating and providing assistance in any emergency response required on campus. The department also develops all hazard emergency plans, conducts emergency planning and exercises emergency contingency plans through periodic table-top exercises and full scale exercises in order to mitigate the impact of any potential event.

Medical Emergencies: In the event of a life-threatening medical emergency, dial 911 and then call campus security to facilitate EMS response to campus and assist in managing the emergency. Campus security will document the event in the daily activity log and notify appropriate campus stakeholders. If the medical emergency is non-life threatening, call Campus Medical at 828-689-1243.

Enforcing Campus Rules and Regulations: The Department of Safety and Security has a role in the enforcement of campus rules, regulations and policies. They work closely with other stakeholders, including residential life, to identify and document violations and refer potential violations to applicable authorities for further adjudication.

Conducting Safety and Security Related Programming for Students, Faculty and Staff: Campus Security can serve as a resource for the student population and has developed a series of courses relating to safety and security issues for presentation to students, faculty and staff. These programs can be tailored to individual needs and are scalable. Examples of available programs include: Bystander training, Crime and theft prevention, Avoiding sexual violence, Personal safety, Fire safety, Drug and alcohol abuse issues, self defense, etc. Groups eligible to receive these programs can include virtually any member of the MHU community and examples include residence halls, Greek organizations, athletic teams, and other student organizations, faculty committees and staff sections..

Referring Potential Violations of Local, State and Federal Laws and Code Violations to Appropriate Investigating Agencies: The MHU Department of Safety and Security is charged with detecting, deterring, observing and reporting potential violations of local, state, federal law and code violations in order to help create a safer environment at Mars Hill University. The role includes thoroughly documenting potential violations and campus security staff members are trained in the preservation and collection of evidence and in investigative and incident report writing. The Department of Safety and Security is not a law enforcement agency and can only enforce university rules and regulations. All other potential violations of law and code are referred with documentation to the appropriate investigating law enforcement or code enforcement agency.

Lost and Found Items: The Department of Safety and Security maintains a “Lost and Found” box in Room 317A at Wren Hall. If you have lost an item, please stop by during the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to retrieve your lost item.

Vehicle Registration and Parking Enforcement: The Department of Safety and Security is responsible for vehicle registration and parking violation enforcement on the campus of Mars Hill University. Due to ongoing construction projects, parking is currently at a premium at MHU. To obtain a full understanding of the MHU traffic code, designated parking areas, the parking violation appeals process or to register a student, faculty or staff vehicle, please click on the applicable links below. Campus Security is equipped to assist students who need a vehicle jump started (with a waiver) and can refer students, faculty and staff to a lock smith in the event of a vehicle lock-out. The Department of Safety and Security also arranges for abandoned vehicles or vehicles that are illegally parked for extended time to be towed.