Health & Safety

Absence From Your Residence Hall

If you become ill, are involved in an accident or leave the Residence Hall for more than one day, please inform your RA so staff will know how to contact you. Leaves of absence are available for emergency and non-medical reasons from the Student Life Office. Residence Life occasionally receives calls from residents' parents/guardians regarding their whereabouts. By informing your RA of your absence you enable us to keep your family informed in the event of an emergency.

Asbestos Information

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that has been used extensively in construction and may other industries. The fibers are extremely durable and very resistant to destruction by heat or chemicals. Until 1978, many building codes mandated use of various forms of asbestos for fire protection. The majority (85 percent) of asbestos used in construction material is not friable (i.e., not crumbly). Asbestos is generally immobilized in strong binding materials, which do not readily release asbestos fibers into the air. Friable asbestos--including that used in insulation, troweled asbestos plaster, and pipe lagging--is capable of releasing fibers upon disturbance. These friable materials constitute the greatest source of asbestos contamination in structures. Due to potential health hazards, the Washington Labor and Industries Department of Health and Safety indicates that the permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 0.1 fiber of asbestos per cubic centimeter of air. To date, our air samples indicate total fibers in the air of less than 0.1 fiber/cc.

Building Evacuation & Disaster Meeting Locations

Residence Hall Where to Evacuate
Birnam Wood Go to the nearest parking area.
Buchanan Towers Go to the west end of the building to the tennis courts on the other side of the street.
Buchanan Towers East Go to the west end of the building to the tennis courts on the other side of the street.
Edens Hall Go to the big lawn on the south side of the building. Wheelchair-users exit out the second floor by room 201.
Edens North Follow the driveway downhill and go straight into the large parking lot. (Lot 7G)
Fairhaven Complex Go to the large gravel parking lot outside of the main entrance to the complex. (Lot 12A)
Higginson Hall From the top floor exit ramp, follow the driveway downhill and go straight into the large parking lot. (Lot 7G)

From the ground-floor street side, follow the sidewalk to the end of the building; turn right and walk straight up into the large parking lot on the left. (Lot 7G)

From the ground-floor elevator side, walk past the dumpsters, through the small parking lot and directly into the large parking lot. (Lot 7G)
Mathes Hall From the front doors near the lounge, follow the sidewalk to the right, go down the stairs, and angle left into the large parking lot. (Lot 6V)

From the basement exit, make your way to the parking lot below the green sport court. (Lot 4R)
Nash Hall Go to the back of the building and make your way to the parking lot below the green sport court. (Lot 4R)
Ridgeway Alpha Go to the main parking lot for the Ridgeway Complex. (Lot 15R)
Ridgeway Beta Go to the Ridgeway Tennis Courts.
Ridgeway Delta Go to the Ridgeway Tennis Courts.
Ridgeway Gamma Go to the Ridgeway Tennis Courts.
Ridgeway Kappa Go to the Ridgeway Tennis Courts.
Ridgeway Omega Go to the main parking lot for the Ridgeway Complex. (Lot 15R)
Ridgeway Sigma Go to the main parking lot for the Ridgeway Complex. (Lot 15R)

How to Evacuate

  • Never use elevators
  • Evacuate the building immediately
  • If others do not respond to the alarm or do not know of the evacuation, inform them of the need to evacuate immediately
  • When evacuating, do not delay to gather belongings from the building
  • Only take immediately available items (coats, phone, keys, medications, books, wallets) as time allows
  • Use stairways
  • When outside, stay a safe distance from the building and out the way of emergency personnel
  • If you suspect that anyone is still inside the building, notify the authorities at the scene
  • Stay upwind from smoke or chemical clouds
  • Remain away from the building unless you are told to re-enter or receive other directions from authorities on site
  • Stay with fellow residents for a total headcount
  • Follow any further directions from authorities on site
  • For information during a building evacuation, go to the police car or fire truck

Actions if Trapped

  • Call University Police (360-650-3911) or call 911 if off-campus, report your location and situation
  • If available, go to a window and signal emergency personnel by waving, or by hanging a large sign
  • If smoke is present, stay low, cover your face with a wet cloth and place fabric around door cracks to keep smoke out

Campus Disaster Meeting Locations

Go to one of three major disaster areas for information and help in case of a major disaster when buildings may not be safe to enter

  • Old Main Lawn
  • South Campus Oval at Communications Facility
  • Field near tennis courts below the Campus Services Building

Emergency Evacuation for People with Disabilities

View the Emergency Evacuation Guidelines for People with Disabilities for information on emergency evacuation for people with disabilities.

Emotional or Personal Crisis

The University has a number of trained professionals who can provide counseling and support for students experiencing difficulties in their day-to-day lives on campus. If you are experiencing difficulties, you may contact the Counseling Center, the Office of Student Life, Health Services, or Alcohol and Drug Consultation and Assessment Services during normal working hours. A member of the Residence Life staff can help you to determine which service might best meet your needs. After working hours, you may contact a member of the Residence Life staff or University Police.

Missing Student Notification

Students can confidentially designate someone different from their Emergency Contacts to be reached if the University has reason to believe the student has gone missing.

For more information view Missing Person Contact.

Power Outage & Utility Failure

In Case of a Power Outage

  • Remain calm
  • Many buildings have emergency generators which will power stairway lighting and other essential building components for a brief time period (usually 15 minutes)
  • This time period is to be used to secure areas and leave the building
  • Follow instructions from University Police or Facilities Management Staff
  • Unplug all electrical equipment, including computers, and turn off light switches before leaving
  • Avoid lighting candles or using other types of open flames for lighting
  • The University's Emergency Response Team will provide coordination for power outages expected to last an extended period of time
  • To report a minor, localized power outage, call University Police (360-650-3911)
  • Running water and toilets will continue to work during a power outage

If People are Trapped in an Elevator

  • Tell passengers to remain calm and that you are getting help
  • Instruct passengers to pick up the emergency phone in the elevator and provide direct information to the University Police dispatcher
  • If that does not work, call University Police (360-650-3911)
  • Stay near passengers if it is safe to remain in the building

Water Emergency

  • Water-related emergencies may include lack of running water, lack of available toilet facilities, water leaks, and standing water
  • During business hours, (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday) notify Facilities Management at 360-650-3420
  • After business hours, notify University Police at 360-650-3911
  • If you are involved with responding to a water emergency but have not determined the source, remember that the water could be contaminated
  • If there is standing water on the floor, do not enter the area until you are sure the electricity has been turned off due to risk of electrical shock

Phone Service

If the campus phone service is not working, attempt to use the University's computer network to notify Telecommunication at telecom@wwu.edu.

Gas Leak

Natural gas is colorless and has no odor. The gas companies add an odorant to produce a distinctive smell to alert users to a possible problem. The smell is similar but not identical to a skunk odor.

Serious Leak

If a gas cylinder, gas equipment, or gas piping should begin leaking or is suspected of leaking and presents as a serious danger to them or other building occupants, the following steps should be taken:

  • Immediately notify building occupants to evacuate the area using the pre-planned evacuation route; use the building alarm, if available
  • Notify University Police (360-650-3911)
  • Request the police dispatcher to contact Facilities Management to shut down the building ventilation (HVAC) system for your building. Provide the following information:
    • Building name
    • Floor number
    • Room number
    • Specific chemical name of the involved gas, if known
    • Estimated volume involved, if known
  • In the area near the leak, do no switch lights or electrical equipment on or off as electrical arcing may trigger an explosion
  • Do not return to the building until instructed by emergency responders

Leak of Possible Concern

If gas equipment or gas piping is suspected of leaking, and occupants are concerned but are unsure if the odor denotes a serious leak, the following steps should be taken:

  • Turn off any gas equipment
  • During business hours, (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday) notify the Facilities Management Work Control Center at 360-650-3420
  • After business hours, notify University Police at 360-650-3911.
  • Follow instructions provided.

Sexual Harassment including Sexual Violence

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program or activity that receives financial support from the Federal government. Under Title IX, discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual assault. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against individuals who complain about or participate in an investigation regarding an alleged Title IX violation.

Western and Title IX

In compliance with Title IX, Western does not discrimination on the basis of sex in employment or in its education programs and activities. It is Western's goal to maintain an environment that is free from all forms of illegal harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual coercion, sexual assault, rape, bullying and hazing.

Western's Title IX Coordinator

Questions, concerns and complaints concerning Title IX may be directed to the University's Title IX Coordinator:

Drew Nishiyama, Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity & Employment Diversity

  • Equal Opportunity Office
  • Old Main 345
  • 360-650-3307
  • Washington Relay: 711
  • eoo@wwu.edu

Reporting Options

If you have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual violence, you have reporting options. If an incident occurs, you can report it to:

Western's Discrimination Complaint Procedure provides for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging violations of Title IX.

Counseling and Support Resources for Students

Counseling and Support Resources for Students and Non-Students

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS), 24 hour help line: 360-715-1563 or 877-715-1563

Shooting Incident

If an armed intruder comes to WWU, it is critical that faculty, staff, and students report it immediately and take protective actions.

Follow the shooting incident steps outlined by University Police.

Health Insurance

The Student Health Center strongly recommends that all students have some form of health insurance to defray the substantial costs associated with serious accidents and illness. The University offers a Student Health Insurance Plan through the Student Health Center.

 

Weather Emergency

Conditions leading to weather emergencies are generally predictable. In the event of inclement weather, please follow instructions listed on Western's Inclement Weather Page.

Worried About Someone?

As a resident, you may know friends or neighbors who appear to be in need of assistance. Please contact your Resident Advisor or Resident Director if you want to help another student make contact with one of Western's community resources.