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Violent, Criminal, or Disruptive Behavior

  1. Overview
  2. Active Shooter on Campus
  3. Psychological Crisis
  4. Hostage Situation
  5. Civil Disturbance or Demonstrations
  6. Bomb Threats
  7. Phone Bomb Threat
  8. Written Bomb Threat
  9. Suspicious Letters or Packages
  10. Personal Safety Tips
    1. At Work
    2. Walking Around
    3. At Home


Everyone is asked to assist in making the campus and our community a safe place by being alert to suspicious situations and promptly reporting them. If a person(s) disrupts a class or lecture, ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, call Campus Safety and your immediate supervisor.

All students, staff, and faculty at Keene State College have the right to work and learn in an environment free of discrimination and discriminatory harassment. Any employee of Keene State College who observes discrimination or harassing behaviors or who receives information that such conduct may have occurred is responsible for discussing this information with an administrative contact. If you receive any malicious threats you should report these incidents immediately. No one is permitted to harass, defame, intimidate or threaten anyone through the use of computing or network resources (KSC’s Computer and Network Use Policy). For sexual harassment issues, see KSC’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures.

If you are a victim or a witness to any offense, avoid risks and contact the police immediately by dialing 911 or Campus Safety or by using one of the campus blue light emergency telephones. Report the incident, including the following:

  • nature of the incident
  • location of the incident
  • description of person(s) involved
  • description of property involved
  • location or direction of person(s) involved

If you observe a criminal act or a suspicious person, immediately report the incident to Campus Safety. Assist the officers when they arrive by supplying them with all available information and ask others to cooperate. After the disturbance, seek emergency first aid, if necessary.

Active Shooter on Campus

In the event of an active shooter (and if it is possible to do so safely) leave the area, find shelter in a safe indoor area away from the danger, and take protective cover.

If you CANNOT get out, secure immediate area:

  • Proceed to a room that can be locked. Close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights. This is referred to as lockdown.
  • Put cell phones on vibrate.
  • Keep occupants calm, quiet, and out of sight. If possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room. You may need to cover windows with paper or clothing to block the view into the room.
  • One person in the room should call 911, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place, and inform him or her of your location.
  • Remain in place until the police or other official tells you it is all clear. Unfamiliar voices may be the criminal attempting to lure victims from their safe space; do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer.

If a shooter is in the same building:

  • Determine if the room you are in can be locked and, if so, follow the same procedure described in the previous paragraph.
  • If your room can’t be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and is secure or determine if you can safely exit the building.

If a shooter enters your office or classroom:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • If you can get out of the area safely, do so.
  • Dial 911, if possible, and alert the police to your location. If you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking place. Normally, the location of a 911 call can be determined without speaking.
  • If there is absolutely no opportunity for escape or hiding, it might be possible to negotiate with the shooter. Attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered a very last resort - after all other options have been exhausted.
  • If the shooter leaves the area, either play dead until help arrives or proceed immediately to a safer place and do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter.

No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind. Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing. Move quickly, always keep your hands visible, and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter. Do not attempt to remove injured people. Instead, leave victims where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible.

Psychological Crisis

A psychological crisis exists when an individual is threatening harm to him- or herself or to others, or is out of touch with reality due to severe drug reactions, a psychotic episode, trauma, severe stress, or medical emergencies such as insulin resistance or shock . Your actions may help calm a potentially violent situation. Try to behave in a manner that helps calm a situation:

  • Stay calm. Don’t be in a hurry.
  • Be empathetic. Show you are concerned.
  • Try to have the other person and yourself sit down. Sitting is a less aggressive position.
  • Try to be helpful. For example, schedule an appointment for a later time.
  • Give positive-outcome statements such as “We can get this straightened out.”
  • Give positive feedback for continued talking such as “I’m glad you’re telling me how you feel.”
  • Stay out of arms’ reach.
  • Have limited eye contact.
  • Take notes.
  • Avoid exacerbating behaviors. DO NOT patronize, yell or argue, joke or be sarcastic, or touch the person.

If someone becomes violent:

Never try to handle a situation you feel is dangerous. Don’t endanger your safety. Leave the scene immediately, if possible, or try to alert a co-worker that there is a problem (e.g., by calling and using an agreed-upon code word to indicate trouble). Call Campus Safety from a safe place. Clearly state that you need immediate assistance. Give your name and location and briefly describe the nature of the situation. Don’t hang up until you are told to do so. Should the situation warrant such action, Campus Safety will notify College Counseling Center personnel or the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.

If you are concerned about a student or situation but are not sure how to proceed, call the Counseling Center (358-2437) The Counseling Center also has a critical incident support (CIS) team that can help in an emergency.

Hostage Situation

If you are a witness to a hostage situation and the hostage-taker is unaware of your presence:

  • Assess the situation. Do not put yourself in more danger.
  • Call 911. Give the dispatcher the details of the situation.
  • Seal off the area near the hostage scene.

If you are taken hostage:

  • Be patient and calm. Time is on your side. Don’t threaten or intimidate your captor. Avoid drastic action.
  • Before you say or do anything, consider the threat to yourself and others that are involved.
  • If necessary to speak, ask for permission first. Don’t talk down to the captor who may be in an agitated state. Avoid appearing hostile. Maintain eye contact with the captor at all times if possible, but do not stare.
  • If medications, first aid, or restroom privileges are needed by anyone, calmly say so. The captor in all probability does not want to inflict harm. Such direct action further implicates him or her in additional offenses.
  • Be observant. When you are released, the personal safety of others may depend on what you remember about the situation and are able to communicate.

Civil Disturbance or Demonstrations

Most campus demonstrations such as marches, meetings, picketing, and rallies are peaceful and non-obstructive. Everyone should attempt to carry out business as usual. Avoid provoking or obstructing the demonstrators. A student demonstration will not be disrupted by police or campus officials unless one or more of the following conditions exists:

  • with normal operations of the College
  • Prevention of access to an office, a building, or other College facilities
  • Threat of physical harm to persons or damage to College facilities

If you believe any of these conditions exist or are threatened, contact Campus Safety.

Bomb Threats

While not common, bomb threats and suspicious packages can happen at the College. All bomb threats should be reported immediately to Campus Safety. If you receive a bomb threat, try to provide as much information as possible to the dispatch operator and to the responding officers. In order to ensure your safety and to minimize the disruptions caused by such threats (this is usually the goal of those making the threats), the following procedures should be followed:

  • If you observe a suspicious object, package, or potential bomb on campus, do not handle the object! Clear the area and immediately call Campus Safety. Report the location of any suspicious object.
  • Turn off all radios, walkie-talkies, and cell phones. Do not turn them on again until the situation has been cleared by emergency personnel.
  • Do not open drawers or cabinets or turn lights on or off.
  • Assist the police and fire departments if requested, because you are far more likely to recognize something out of place than they are.
  • Police and fire officials will conduct a detailed bomb search.
  • If ordered to evacuate, go to an open area where the possibility of a secondary device would be minimal.

The decision to order an evacuation for a bomb threat rests with Campus Safety and the Keene Police Department if a suspected device is located and with the Chief of Police when a device is not located. If the Chief of Police cannot be reached to make the decision, the responsibility passes to the ranking officer.

Phone Bomb Threat

If you receive a bomb threat call, remain calm. Record the time of the call, ask questions, and take notes:

  • When will the bomb go off?
  • Where is it?
  • What does it look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • Why?
  • Who is calling?

Keep talking to the caller as long as possible, listen carefully, and try to determine the following:

  • What is the caller’s gender?
  • What is his or her approximate age?
  • Is the voice familiar?
  • Did the person have an accent or a unique speech attribute?
  • What is the emotional state of the caller?
  • Can you describe any background noises during the call?

Written Bomb Threat

If you receive a bomb threat via a letter or note, dial 911 immediately and do the following:

  • Make a note of all persons that you know who handled the note.
  • Avoid excessive handling of the note. The police will want to check for fingerprints.
  • Follow all instructions from responding emergency personnel. Evacuate if ordered to do so.

Suspicious Letters or Packages

KSC receives a variety of packages and letters every day. Some of these items are sent through mail services and some are delivered by private or public couriers. Be aware of letters or packages that have any kind of suspicious traits, including:

  • no return address or unusual or unverifiable return address
  • postmark showing a very different location than return address
  • misspelled words or poor handwriting, printing, or typing
  • packages that are addressed to a title only, without a name, or incorrect or nonexistent departments or position titles
  • restrictive markings like “personal,” “private,” or “to be opened only by”
  • excessive postage, no postage, or noncancelled postage
  • excessive use of tape or unprofessionally wrapped packages
  • a rigid or bulky envelope
  • odd smell or sounds coming from the package
  • oily stains, leaking, or seepage from the package
  • wires protruding from the package.

Your best protection when handling the mail is your knowledge of the items you typically handle on a day-to-day basis and being able to determine what seems out of place. Never open or excessively handle any letter or package that you believe is meant to cause harm.

Not all dangerous packages or envelopes look suspicious, and not all suspicious looking packages are dangerous. You must always use your best judgment. If you are concerned for any reason, do not handle the package.

If you determine that the package or letter is suspicious:

  • Gently set the package down and secure the area by closing doors.
  • Call Campus Safety.
  • Do not attempt to further handle the package until it has been deemed safe by responding personnel. This will keep fingerprints to a minimum and will assist the police in identifying potential offenders.
  • Do not attempt to destroy the package on your own.
  • Determine who else in the office or on the campus may have legitimately handled the package and be ready to communicate this information to the police.
  • Evacuate the area if ordered to do so by the authorities.

Dealing with an Opened Threatening Package or Envelope

If a threat is not identified or considered until after a package or envelope is open, it is most important to remain calm. By taking the following actions, you will limit the exposure of others to the potential danger, and you will allow emergency personnel to treat you quickly, if necessary:

  • Move away from the package, but do not leave the area that you are in, unless the package contains a type of bomb or other explosive device.
  • Close any doors in the immediate area and isolate yourself and anyone else that was in the immediate vicinity of the package. This may mean a temporary quarantine for you and anyone else in the immediate room.
  • If you come in contact with a suspicious substance, immediately wash your hands with soap and warm water, remove heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible, and place clothing in a plastic bag or container that can be sealed.
  • Do not allow any entry except by emergency response personnel.
  • Use the phone and dial 911. Follow all instructions from emergency personnel.
  • Turn off any window A/C units and fans.
  • Contact the Physical Plant and request that any air-handling units not controlled locally be shut down.
  • Make a list of any others that may have come in contact with the package, including those that may have handled it but have not opened it. Be prepared to share this information with emergency responders.

The goal of responding emergency personnel is to make sure you and any others in the affected area remain safe and healthy. Their available resources are extensive and will allow them to properly handle the situation as promptly as possible. Stay calm and give the responders the time to formulate a response. Be prepared to communicate over the phone with them for a time. They will get to you as soon as possible, and they will arrange for medical treatment, decontamination, and any other services that you may require.

Personal Safety Tips

At Work

  • Discuss and agree on circumstances and situations in the workplace that everyone should watch out for. Have procedures, and signals in place to deal with threatening situations. Previously agreed-upon code words can be used to communicate information with fellow staff members without alerting the aggressor.
  • Avoid scheduling appointments for times when no one else is in the area. Alert your colleagues in advance about a difficult meeting, keep the door to the room open, or meet in a public area.
  • Try to avoid working alone after hours.
  • When working after office hours, keep doors locked and do not open the door unless you are expecting someone.

Walking Around

  • Avoid walking alone at night. Travel in groups when possible and always walk in well-lit, heavily traveled areas.
  • Learn where the campus emergency phones are located and how to use them. Their locations are identified by blue lights
  • Call Campus Safety after dark or when you feel the need for an escort on campus. When off campus, contact a local cab company.
  • Learn the best routes between your home, work and activities.
  • Take the safest route, not the fastest route. The safest route is usually the best lit, most traveled one.
  • Gauge the social scene on and around campus, at local bars and other favorite spots.

At Home

  • Doors and windows to your apartment or home should be locked. Do not loan out your key or access card.
  • Don’t leave exterior doors propped open. If you find one open, close it. These doors are locked for your protection.
  • Do not leave your identification, wallets, checkbooks, jewelry, cameras, and other valuables in open view.
  • Program your phone’s speed dial memory with emergency numbers.
  • Record the serial numbers of valuable objects you have in your room, home, or office. Engrave such objects with your name or driver’s license number.
  • Mark clothes with a laundry pen or thread and needle in a spot other than the label.
  • Do not allow people you do not know well to stay overnight in your room, apartment, or home.
  • If you are receiving threatening or obscene phone calls contact the police.
  • If you notice a person attempting to gain entry to your residence or attempting to look into your residence, call the police.
Emergency Handbook – Page 8 of 12

About this Policy

Ownership: Environmental Health and Safety; Campus Safety
Last Modified: Mar 25, 2021 –
Categories: Safety
For questions regarding this policy, please contact the policy owner.
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