Topic: Student Affairs

February 15, 2008

NIU Ribbon
Dear Students:

Like me, I'm sure that all of you have been following the tragic news emanating from Northern Illinois University. Like you, I know my heart and prayers go out to everyone touched by this senseless act, one that has left everyone directly and indirectly involved with the campus community grieving and asking why this has happened.

We may never know the motives for this random violence. What we can do, though, is mourn for the families who lost their sons and daughters, pray for those wounded to achieve a fast and complete recovery, and support the university as it navigates through these dark days.

It also reminds me that we need to support the members of our own campus community. Events such as the ones at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois are disconcerting and may have a profound impact on you or people you know. Counseling Center staff members are available to help address your needs and are there if you need to talk. The center is located in Lucina Hall, room 320, and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For an emergency after hours, contact 765-747-7330. 

Even in the darkest hours, there are always sources of hope. In this vein, I want to commend the officials at Northern Illinois. Their rapid response, especially in the minutes immediately following the first shots, deserves our highest praise. Their actions also serve as grave reminders that our community needs to remain vigilant in maintaining our own emergency response plans.

Here is a reminder of how our emergency alert system works as well as some of the services available:

Emergency Alert System

  • In case of an emergency on campus, the emergency warning sirens will emit a continuous three-minute sound warning. The siren does not sound for the entire duration of the emergency. Do not assume that danger has passed when the siren stops sounding.
    If you hear the siren, take cover inside.  Access text messaging, e-mail, campus voicemail, a radio or TV, or the Ball State Web site for more information.
    The emergency warning siren is tested each Friday at 11 a.m. These tests last for 30 seconds.
  • The Ball State Web site will provide up-to-date information and direction in the event of an emergency.
  • Everyone in the Ball State community is encouraged to enroll in the university's text messaging system that will send immediate alerts to cell phones in the case of a campus crisis. In the event of an immediate threat, the beginning of the message would include the words "code red." To subscribe to this service, go to
  • Messages will be sent to your university e-mail account in the case of a crisis.
  • Emergency procedure information is posted in all classrooms.

Campus and Residence Life

  • Emergency call boxes are located throughout campus and connect directly to our Public Safety office.
  • Charlie's Charter Escort Service provides free transportation on campus Sunday through Thursday, 6 p.m. until 3:30 a.m. For a ride, call 760-RIDE or 285-5005.
  • Residence hall doors leading to living areas are locked 24 hours a day, and guests must be escorted by a resident.
  • Night security is provided in all residence halls.

The fastest way to reach campus police in the event of an emergency when using a cell phone is by dialing 765-285-1111. Calling 911 from a campus landline also directly reaches university police.

To learn more about campus safety and other crime prevention tips, please go to To learn more about Ball State's crisis protocol, visit


Kay Bales

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students