IV. Safety and Emergency Response

Campus Safety Notifications

RAVE is Wooster’s text message and email emergency notification system. It allows you to receive emergency communications and other important safety information via text message and your Wooster email. Notifications may be about inclement weather alerts, safety updates, and emergency incidents on or near campus. All students who have provided the College with a cell phone number will be automatically enrolled in the RAVE alert system. Please make sure your cell phone number is always up to date to ensure there is no delay in receiving these important notifications. You can make updates at any time through the Colleague Self-Service portal. Our expectation is that students regularly monitor their Wooster email as well as course Moodle sites to receive timely information from faculty and staff.

Tornado Watch and Warning

A tornado watch occurs when tornadoes are expected to develop. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted. When a warning alert is given, seek inside shelter immediately. The best possible shelters would be the basement floor of each building in an area free of windows or doors, with as little light furniture as possible. Stay away from windows. Avoid auditoriums, gymnasiums, or other structures with wide, free span roofs.

If a tornado is sighted, move away from the tornado’s path at a right angle. If there is no time to escape, lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and protect your head and neck with your hands.

Missing Person

This policy has been designed to respond to reports of missing students, as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. For purposes of these guidelines, a student may be considered a “missing student” if the student’s absence is contrary to their usual pattern of behavior and unusual circumstances may have caused the absence. Such circumstances could include, but not be limited to, a report or suspicion that the missing person may be the victim of foul play, has expressed suicidal thoughts, is drug dependent, is in a life-threatening situation, or has been with persons who may endanger the student’s welfare.

Any individual on campus who has information that a residential student may be a missing student must notify the Office of Campus Safety or the Office of the Dean of Students as soon as possible and in no event, later than 24 hours after determining that the student is missing. The Office of Campus Safety will gather all essential information about the residential student from the reporting person and from the student’s acquaintances (description, clothes last worn, where student might be, who student might be with, vehicle description, information about the physical and mental well-being of the student, an up-to-date photograph, class schedule, etc.). Appropriate campus staff will be notified to aid in the search for the student. If the above actions are unsuccessful in locating the student or it is apparent immediately that the student is a missing person (e.g., witnessed abduction), no later than twenty-four (24) hours after the Office of Campus Safety determines that a residential student is missing: the Office of Campus Safety will contact the appropriate local law enforcement agency to report the student as a missing person and the local law enforcement agency will take charge of the investigation. The Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students will notify the emergency contact (for students 18 and over) or the emergency contact and the parent/guardian (for students under the age of 18) that the student is believed to be missing.

Privacy, Security, and Facilities

Residential living in an academic community provides opportunities for educational and social exchanges within the residential units. These exchanges, however, should not be permitted to interfere with the rights of individuals to privacy and to the use of their rooms and adjacent areas for study and sleep. Therefore, members of the community must conduct themselves within residential units in ways that will not infringe upon the rights of roommates or other residents to use their rooms for study and sleep and to honor their rights to individual privacy in all areas of the residential unit except public lounges and recreation areas designated by the members of the unit.

All students generally will always have access to all residence halls when the residential spaces are open; however, access may be restricted in the discretion of the college under the terms of a no-contact order or for other safety reasons. Students living in small houses may gain access to their houses 24 hours a day using exterior door card readers or assigned exterior door keys where applicable.

All-Gender Restrooms

The College of Wooster asserts that all members of the community, regardless of gender identity or expression, have the right to be able to live, learn, and work safely and comfortably.

An all-gender restroom/bathroom is a restroom that anyone of any gender can use.

These restrooms can benefit many different people, including parents with children; people of all abilities; those who may require the accompaniment of an attendant of a different gender; trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people; or people who simply prefer additional privacy.

As such, the college is committed to:

  • Having all buildings with all gender restroom/bathroom facilities using signage that reflects those facilities
  • Designating and maintaining an all-gender restroom in as many of its buildings as reasonably feasible
  • Including at least one all-gender restroom in new buildings constructed on campus to the extent feasible
  • Maintaining a database of all gender restrooms and identify whether the restroom is accessible. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (Sexuality and Gender Inclusion branch) will publish and periodically update the list of restrooms on their website. Visit the All-Gender Restroom website for more information

In addition to providing all-gender restrooms, the campus also has restrooms and bathrooms that are separated based on gender. The college is committed to providing access to facilities to all members of the community that are consistent with their gender identity, including those members who are transgender, nonbinary, and/or gender nonconforming.

Therefore, the college and its members will not require or coerce a person to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or require or coerce a person to use individual-user facilities when others are not required to do so. Nor may the college and its members harass a member of the community for their use of a restroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Any harassment, coercion, or force placed on a person to vacate their chosen restroom/facility space will not be tolerated and is considered a violation of college policy.

Searches of College-Owned Property

The College of Wooster strives to provide a safe and secure environment for all members of the college community. There may be times when a college official may need to enter a student’s room and/or house. College officials may enter rooms for routine inspections and­ to perform necessary maintenance. These are not searches­ for policy violations. Staff members will not disturb the personal belongings of a student without that student’s consent, except for maintenance or safety conditions that require immediate attention. However, when items are in “plain view” (in open, commonly visible areas within the room) or when an area must be inspected or accessed for the normal performance of their duties, policy violations may be documented and forwarded to appropriate officials.

A college official may need to conduct a more in-depth search if there is reason to believe that the premises is being used for illegal purposes, if there is a possible violation of the student code of conduct occurring, if there is a concern or threat to the health and/or safety of students, and/or if there are issues that interfere with normal college operation.

In the event that an in-depth search is necessary, a member of the Campus Safety team will ask the student(s) who officially reside in the space to give voluntary permission for the search. The student may decline that request. Absent pressing circumstances, if permission is not given by the student, the college official will obtain permission for the search from the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students (or their designee) prior to the search. This permission will be documented with Campus Safety for later reference by involved parties.

If pressing/exigent circumstances do exist, including but not limited to situations that involve a concern or threat to the health and/or safety of students and situations where destruction of evidence may be taking place, the student might not be allowed access to the area being searched while permission is being obtained, or the premises may be searched without first obtaining permission from the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students (or their designee).

At least one member of the Dean of Students staff or Residence Life staff will accompany the Campus Safety staff member. Such a search may involve searches of college-owned property (may involve, but not limited to, lockers including dressers, desks, wardrobes) and items located in the college-owned space (may involve, but not limited to, lockers, bookbags, storage units). Evidence found in a search may be confiscated and used in student conduct and/or criminal proceedings and turned over to proper authorities as needed.

In addition, Residence Life, Campus Safety, Facilities, and/or Maintenance personnel may also enter a room for necessary maintenance, inventory, health and safety inspections, or to enforce other appropriate policies. Emergency responders, including Campus Safety, Residence Life/Student Affairs staff, and service technicians, may enter a room during emergency situations when imminent risk to life, safety, health, or property is suspected. If there is a threat to an individual’s life, items that could be used to cause self-harm may be removed as a measure of protection.


The college shall accept no responsibility for the damage, theft, or loss of money, valuables, or other personal belongings of the student. The college encourages students to obtain appropriate insurance coverage.

Automated External Defibrillators

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is used to treat a person who experiences sudden cardiac arrest. It is only to be applied to a person that is unconscious, not breathing normally and showing no signs of circulation such as normal breathing, coughing or movement. The AED will analyze the heart rhythm and advise the operator if a shockable rhythm is detected. If a shockable rhythm is detected, the AED will charge to the appropriate energy level and deliver a shock.

Tampering with AED devices is subject to referral to action through the conduct system and/or action by civil authorities.

Fire and Evacuation Procedures

Fire and Personal Safety Procedures are posted on the back of the door of each student’s room in a residence hall and program house. Procedures may also be found in the college’s Annual Security Report online. A map outlining the fire evacuation route for each residence hall and program house is posted on each floor of a residence hall or program house.  Additional information about expectations for evacuation can be found in the Policies for the Safety and Well-being of the Community.