Ongoing and forthcoming safety measures are shared at Staff Council meeting

The Staff Council meets via Zoom the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is set for March 28.

The Staff Council meets via Zoom the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is set for March 28.

Celina Ramirez, vice president for University initiatives

Celina Ramirez, vice president for University initiatives

Adding locks to classroom doors and expanding access to safety training are among the measures the University is implementing as it updates its safety protocols, members of the Staff Council were told during its monthly meeting.

In a presentation to the council on Feb. 28, Celina Ramirez, vice president for University initiatives, reviewed many of the measures being put into place that were announced by University President Robert C. Robbins in a January message to campus.

Ramirez said the University is in the process of adding locks to all classroom doors. She said there had previously been some hesitation to do that to avoid someone locking people inside, but the increase in active shooting incidents has strengthened the desire to have locks.

The installation of the locks is expected to be done by the beginning of the fall semester, she said, adding that there also is an effort underway to expand keyless access to many buildings.

Installing card entry systems provides the ability to lock buildings instantaneously in certain kinds of emergencies, she said.

The University also is making changes to the UAlert emergency notification system. Ramirez says all students and employees who add their cellphone numbers to UAccess will be registered to receive the notifications via text, with the ability to opt out. Registration will not expire for active students or employees, who also receive notifications via email to their University accounts.

Ramirez says the University is also making active shooter preparedness training available in person and online. A 12-minute training video is now available through EDGE Learning, along with a read-through option for those who might find it uncomfortable to watch the video. Supervisors are also being asked to sign their units up for in-person active shooter training led by the University of Arizona Police Department. Building managers will be working with UAPD to create building emergency plans.

In another safety-related change, the employee criminal background check process will be expanded to include graduate assistants and associates being hired or going through a qualified job change, effective July 1, Ramirez said. The move brings the grad assistant hiring process in alignment with the employee hiring process.

"It's important to note that all of these different strategies can help us to potentially reduce our risk," Ramirez told the council. "None of them can necessarily eliminate our risk. They're not perfect processes, but they're all layers to help us reduce our risk."

Other topics discussed at the meeting:

  • Council members were updated on the timeline for officer nominations and elections for the next academic year. Council leaders will provide more information on the nominating and election process as it becomes available and hope to have the process complete by the beginning of the summer.
  • Members were asked to submit suggestions for guest speakers or topics for future meetings.

The Staff Council meets via Zoom the last Tuesday of each month throughout the year. The next meeting is scheduled for March 28. Meetings are open to all employees. Anyone who wants more information can find updates on the Staff Council website or email Jeffrey Jones, information technology business analyst for University Information Technology Services and Staff Council chair, at

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