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Crisis Response Procedures

It is important to understand the procedures Villanova University has in place and how it proceeds and responds in the case of an emergency on campus.

In addition to day-to-day coverage by our 75-member Public Safety team, the University has an extensive Emergency Preparedness Plan that includes procedures to ensure a rapid response to an unanticipated emergency or threatening situation. Villanova takes all incidents affecting student, faculty, and staff safety as serious and time critical.

Providing a Safe Campus

Villanova University has devoted significant resources to providing a safe campus and assuring the safety of our community members. Our Public Safety department is responsible for campus security and consists of approximately 75 officers who provide on-campus coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To assure the greatest breadth of coverage, the officers patrol the campus on foot, on bicycle, and in vehicles.

The Department of Public Safety employs both sworn police officers as well as non-sworn security personnel. University Police Officers have full arrest powers and several defensive weapons, including firearms. Public Safety has 23 sworn Police Officers, along with approximately 45 Security Officers. The officers are well-trained professionals, including some who are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s). The Department also works closely with both the Lower Merion and Radnor Police Departments, as well as the Delaware County Office of Emergency Services.

We encourage members of the campus community or any visitor to immediately report suspicious activity or an emergency to the Public Safety department by calling 9-4444 from an on-campus telephone or 610-519-4444 from an outside telephone or cell phone. If an emergency requires the assistance of an outside EMS, Fire, or Police agency, the Public Safety department will contact the appropriate agency as the situation dictates.

Villanova University Crisis Response

If a situation arises on or around campus that could potentially threaten the health or safety of University community members, senior officers of the University and members of Public Safety are immediately summoned as part of Villanova’s crisis response procedure. This group determines the appropriate actions to be taken, using Villanova University’s Emergency Preparedness Plan as its basis and guideline.

This action may include:

  • Deployment of Public Safety officers
  • Engagement of law enforcement officials, if appropriate
  • Cancellation of classes
  • Patrol of the campus perimeter
  • Closing of roads and entrances onto campus
  • Lockdown of campus buildings and residence halls
  • Evacuation of campus buildings and residence halls

The University has the capability via the Wildcard system to control access to virtually all buildings and entrance gates on campus. This is an access control system, not a security system, but it can regulate what buildings and rooms cardholders may enter.

Emergency Communication Process

In the event of an emergency, an effective University-wide communications process is vital in order to provide the greatest safety possible for our students, faculty, and staff.

We will use all available means of communications in a crisis situation, including text messaging, telephone, the Web site, and e-mail. The University will also implement on-site personal contacts by utilizing Public Safety officers and other University staff and officials. The communications tools may include:

Villanova Web Site

  • Critical information is posted on the University’s home page and may be viewed both internally (students, faculty, and staff) and externally (parents, alumni, and other constituents)


  • Broadcast e-mails are sent to Villanova students, faculty, and staff, as well as alumni, if appropriate


  • Broadcast voice mails are sent to faculty, staff and RA students, and can be accessed both on and off campus through their individual voicemail; Nova alert is used primarily to broadcast to students as well as faculty and staff; emergency phones are installed in all residence halls and are operational for campus calling, 800 number calling, 911 emergency and contacting public safety directly.
  • Critical information is posted on the Villanova Emergency Hotline 610-519-4505; this information is accessible from on or off campus to any constituent, including parents.

NOVA Alert

  • Important emergency alerts, notifications and updates are sent to all registered devices, including cell phone (via SMS/texting); email account (work, home, other); smartphone/PDA (iPhone, BlackBerry, and other handhelds devices)
  • This opt-in service requires registration.
  • Parents of Villanova students can also register for Nova Alert.

Personal Interaction and Connection

  • Public Safety personnel and other University staff can make personal contact with persons in buildings on campus
  • Many buildings on campus have a designated emergency response contact who is trained in responding to an emergency

Villanova University Emergency Guidebook

Villanova University developed an Emergency Guidebook to give members of the University community a ready-reference on how to respond in case of an emergency situation on or near the campus. Campus safety is a responsibility we all share. All of us play a critical role in keeping students, faculty, and staff safe on campus. Click here to view the University’s Emergency Guidebook.

Moving Forward: Assessment of Our Emergency Plans

Villanova routinely examines the Emergency Preparedness Plan and devises measures to respond to various incidents as quickly and effectively as possible. Villanova University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, has asked the senior administration to regularly review and assess the Emergency Preparedness Plan, as well as our communication strategies to assure we have accounted and prepared for as many scenarios as possible.

In the event of an emergency on campus or off, your emotional well-being is also critically important to us. We provide full-service counseling services, as well as access to Campus Ministry staff, who are trained to provide grief counseling. If you would like further information about the specific services we make available to our students, faculty, and staff, you may find the following links helpful.