Campus Security Policy

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is committed to preventing workplace violence and maintaining a safe working environment. All employees, including supervisors and temporary employees, should be treated with courtesy and respect at all times. Conduct that threatens, intimidates, or coerces another employee, a customer, or a member of the public at any time, including off-duty periods, will not be tolerated. This prohibition includes all acts of harassment, including harassment based on an individual's sex, race, age, or any characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

All threats of (or actual) violence, both direct and indirect, should be reported as soon as possible to CSU Security or any other Campus Security Authority. Suppose you are the victim of a crime and do not want to pursue action within the University System or the criminal justice system.  In that case, you may still want to consider making a confidential report. Security can file a report on the details of the incident without revealing your identity with your permission. The purpose of a confidential report is to comply with your wish to keep the matter confidential while taking steps to ensure yourself and others' future safety. With such information, CSU can keep an accurate record of the number of incidents, determine where there is a crime pattern concerning a particular location, method, or assailant, and alert the campus community to potential danger. Reports filed in this manner are counted and disclosed in the annual crime statistics for the institution. CSU encourages everyone to report any crime, even if you do not intend to pursue legal action. This includes threats by employees, and threats by customers, vendors, solicitors, or other members of the public. CSU encourages everyone in the campus community to be aware of their surroundings and be vigilant at all times. All suspicious individuals or activities should be reported as soon as possible to a supervisor and CSU Security. CSU will promptly and thoroughly investigate all reports of threats of (or actual) violence and suspicious individuals or activities. Anyone determined to be responsible for threats of (or actual) violence or other conduct that violates these guidelines will be subject to prompt disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment and reporting to local law enforcement authorities. CSU will, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence, or a non-forcible sex offense, the results of any disciplinary hearing conducted by the university against the student who is the alleged perpetrator of the crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased due to the crime or offense, CSU will provide the results of the disciplinary hearing to the victim's next of kin, if so requested.

CSU Security collects crime data from the Security Authorities, Daily Crime Log, and local police and prepares the Annual Security Report. The university publishes and distributes the Annual Security Report each year. The report is distributed to students and staff and made available to prospective students and employees.

The Campus Security Authority personnel include:

  • Security Officers
  • Director of Student Resolution and Conduct
  • Title IX Coordinator
  • H R Department - Employee Relations

The Campus Security Authorities previously mentioned will:

  • File a report with the local police department when there is a reported crime. CSU Security officers have the authority to ask persons for identification and to determine whether individuals have lawful business at CSU and grant or deny access to the campus. Safety and Security officers do not possess arrest power. Criminal incidents are referred to the local police who have jurisdiction on the campus. The Security Office at CSU maintains a working relationship with the Orange Beach Police Department and the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office. All crime victims and witnesses are strongly encouraged to immediately report the crime to Campus Security and the appropriate police agency. Prompt reporting will assure timely warning notices on-campus and timely disclosure of crime statistics.
  • Report homicide, rape, fondling, incest, statutory rape, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, hate crimes, robbery, assault, liquor law violations, drug law violations, and illegal weapon possession to the local police department.

The CSU Crime Prevention program includes:

  • Employees are given information concerning safety and security during new employee orientation. Annual Training is available online.
  • CSU is subscribed to the following eCHECKUP TO Go programs.
    • Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO is an interactive web survey that allows university students and staff to enter information about their drinking patterns and receive feedback about their use of alcohol.
    • The sexual violence prevention program is used for compliance with sexual abuse and violence education requirements.
  • All guests (including contractors/facility maintenance) are required to sign in at the receptionist desk to receive a visitor's pass. All guests will remain in the receptionist area until a CSU employee escorts them through the building. Visitors should remain with the CSU employee or in the meeting area and escorted when leaving the building.
  • All employees are encouraged to be vigilant and report anyone inside the CSU building without a badge to Security.
  • Employees are encouraged to report anyone loitering on the property or in the parking lot.
  • Employees working after dark should travel with someone or have Security escort them upon exiting the building.
  • All exterior doors and the parking lot are monitored by CSU Security utilizing video surveillance.
  • Random patrols, both inside and outside, are done by CSU Security during scheduled working hours.
  • In addition to the routinely patrolled Orange Beach location by local police, CSU utilizes Hunter Security monitoring service services.

Crime Log:

The Office of Human Resources / CSU Security maintains a Daily Crime Log. The crime log is maintained as follows:

  • Once the Campus Security Authority has received a notification of a crime on the CSU campus, the circumstances will be verified and recorded in the crime log.
  • Crimes are recorded by date when the crime was reported, the nature, date, time, and general location of each crime, and the complaint's disposition, if known.
  • CSU allows inspection of the logs, except where prohibited by law or when disclosure would jeopardize the victim's confidentiality or investigation of the case.
  • CSU will disclose any information withheld once the adverse effect described is no longer likely to occur.
  • The crime log is open to the public for inspection during regular business hours for the most recent 60 days.

Notice of Reporting and Disclosure of Campus Safety Policies and Annual Crime Statistics:

All current students, faculty, and staff members will be provided a notice that contains a brief description of CSU Campus Safety Policies. The notice may be distributed through printed or electronic publications. Prospective students and employees can receive a paper copy of the Annual Security Report upon request.

Timely Warnings to the Campus Community:

CSU Security Authority will post warnings advising the campus community when there has been a significant confirmed emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the campus community's health or safety. These timely warnings will be made available through electronic publications or will be otherwise posted in visible and accessible areas on the campus.

Since CSU is an online university, the term "Campus Community" primarily refers to the faculty and staff. There are occasions when a student may be visiting the campus or when there are guests on site. These individuals will be warned verbally and given a printout of the submitted warning.

The CSU Emergency Response Team, consisting of the Office of the President, Human Resources Department, and the Security Department, will determine if there are a significant emergency and the appropriate action or notification to the campus community.  The determination is made after gathering all available information and weighing the benefit and risk of a warning. It will be the practice to err on the side of caution. The decision to issue the warning to all employees, or a portion of employees, will be based on each incident. The warning content will be incident specific, will withhold the names of victims as confidential, including instructions on how to prepare for the impending danger, and aid in the prevention of similar occurrences. Most warnings will be issued by email, and if appropriate, followed by an announcement over the building's intercom.

CSU will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

CSU will post a follow-up or "ALL CLEAR" notice upon termination of the threat to the Campus Community.

Maintenance on CSU Campuses:

CSU has electronic locks on all exterior doors for security. The Director of Maintenance is responsible for overseeing repairs of the campus facilities. This includes, but is not limited to, defective doors and locking mechanisms. All campus community members are encouraged to report any known problems or hazards to the Director of Maintenance.  Quickly identifying and reporting any known issues or risks will enhance campus safety for everyone.

Reporting of Criminal Activities:

In emergencies, first, dial 9-1-1, then report to the Campus Security Authority. In non-emergency situations, report criminal offenses to the Campus Security Authority.

All students, faculty, and staff members of CSU are strongly encouraged to report any criminal activity within the university system to the Campus Security Authority.

Reportable Offenses:

The following list of crimes is compiled per the definitions used in the Uniform Crime Reporting System of the Department of Justice, FBI, as modified by the Hate Crime Statistics Act. Statistics for any of the following are reported annually to the Department of Education as per the Clery Act.

  • Criminal homicide including murder, non-negligent manslaughter, and negligent manslaughter
  • Forcible and non-forcible sex offenses
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Burglary
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Arson
  • Hate crimes
  • Arrests for liquor, drug, and weapons law violations
  • Persons not arrested but referred for campus disciplinary action for liquor, drug, and weapons law violations
  • Domestic Violence
  • Dating Violence
  • Stalking

Monitoring Student Criminal Activity Off-Campus:

Since CSU is an online university, we do not have any officially recognized student organizations with off-campus locations; therefore, student criminal activity is not monitored.

Drug & Alcohol Prevention Program:

The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 requires that all higher education institutions (HEI) adopt and implement an alcohol and drug prevention program to prevent alcohol abuse and use of illicit drugs by students and employees on institutional premises as part of any of its activities. The regulations require an HEI to do the following:

  • Prepare a written policy on alcohol and other drugs.
  • Distribute the policy to every student and staff member each year.
  • Prepare a biennial review report on the effectiveness of its alcohol and other drugs (AOD) programs and the policy enforcement consistency.
  • As part of the biennial review, the institution must determine the following:
    • The number of drug and alcohol-related violations and fatalities that occur on the campus or as part of any of the institution's activities and are reported to campus officials, and
    • The number and type of sanctions imposed by the institution as a result of drug and alcohol-related violations and fatalities on the institution's campus or as part of any of the institution's activities.

Drug and Alcohol Policy:

I. Standards of Conduct

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is committed to providing a drug-free campus and workplace. CSU prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students, employees, and guests on its premises, or at any activity it sponsors.

Students, employees, and guests must comply with the federal, state, and local laws concerning underage drinking and illegal drug usage Violations of federal, state, or local laws will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement officials.

According to CSU policies and procedures, students and employees will be subject to university disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or separation.

II. Legal Sanctions Regarding Unlawful Use, Possession, or Distribution of Alcoholic Beverages and Illicit Drugs

A. State Laws and Sanctions

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The legal drinking age is 18 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Alabama laws related to the illicit possession, use, and distribution of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and the possible legal penalties for violation of these laws can be found at the following web pages:

B. Federal Laws and Sanctions

United States Code Title 21, Chapter 13, Section 812 establishes classifications of controlled substances. Section 841 makes it unlawful to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance or a counterfeit substance. Learn more about Federal penalties for controlled substances.

C. Local Ordinances

Local authorities abide by state and federal laws concerning unlawful possession, use, and distribution of alcoholic beverages and drugs.

  • Penalties for subsequent violations and convictions of the above are progressively more severe than for initial convictions.

Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program:

Columbia Southern University provides the eCHECKUP TO GO software for all students, faculty, and employees. eCHECKUP TO GO is an alcohol and drug prevention program that educates students and other CSU community members on drinking patterns and the risks associated with alcohol and marijuana use. 

Health Risks:

Alcohol and other drug abuse are a significant public health problem; they have a detrimental effect on the community regarding increased medical and workers compensation claims, medical disability costs, decreased productivity, injuries, theft, and absenteeism. To learn more about the health risks of alcohol and drug use, please visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Other Resources:

Drug Convictions Policy:

Under federal law, a student who has been convicted of the sale or possession of illegal drugs, under any federal or state law, during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid (grant, loans, and/or work-study) is not eligible for federal student aid. Read more about the Drug Convictions Policy.

Crime Statement:

CSU participates in Title IV and is issuing this statement in compliance with the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, referred to as the Clery Act. This report will be made available to all students and employees of Columbia Southern University.  Below is a table showing reportable crimes occurring on campus or public property adjoining the campus:

Campus Crime Statistics Report 2020
Offense Year On-Campus Property On-Campus Student Housing Facilities Non-Campus Property Public Property
Murder/Non-Negligent Manslaughter 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Negligent Manslaughter 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Sex Offenses, Forcible 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Rape 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Fondling 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Sex Offenses, Non-Forcible 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Incest 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Statutory Rape 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Robbery 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Aggravated Assault 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Burglary 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Motor Vehicle Theft 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Arson 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Arrests/Weapons: Carrying, Possessing, Etc. 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Disciplinary Referrals/Weapons: Carrying, Possessing, Etc. 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Arrests/Drug Abuse Violations 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Disciplinary Referrals/Drug Abuse Violations 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Arrests/Liquor Law Violations 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Disciplinary Referrals/Liquor Law Violations 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Domestic Violence 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Dating Violence 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0
Stalking 2017 0 N/A N/A 0
2018 0 N/A N/A 0
2019 0 N/A N/A 0

There were no crimes "unfounded" for 2017, 2018 or 2019.

There were no reported hate crimes for 2017, 2018 or 2019.  Hate crimes include the above listed in addition to larceny-theft, simple assault, intimidation, and destruction, damage, or vandalism of property, and of other crimes involving bodily injury to any person, in which the victim is intentionally selected because of the actual or perceived race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, or disability of the victim.

* Columbia Southern University does not have on-campus student housing facilities or any non-campus buildings or property.

Unfounded crimes. If a reported crime is investigated by law enforcement authorities and found to be false or baseless, the crime is "unfounded" and should not be included in the institution's statistics. Only sworn or commissioned law enforcement personnel may "unfound" a crime.

The Hierarchy Rule:

Hierarchy rule citation
34 CFR 668.48(c) (7)

When counting multiple offenses, you must use the FBI's UCR Hierarchy Rule. This rule requires you to count only the most severe offense when more than one offense was committed during a single incident. A single incident means that the offenses were committed at the same time and place. The time interval between the offenses and the distance between the locations where they occurred were insignificant. Beginning with the most serious offense, the following list shows the hierarchy for Clery Act reporting:

  • Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter
  • Negligent Manslaughter
  • Forcible Sex Offenses
  • Non-forcible Sex Offenses
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Burglary
  • Motor Vehicle Theft
  • Arrests
  • Referrals for Disciplinary Action

Security Policies:

Sexual Assault Policy:

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is committed to creating and maintaining a community where students, faculty, and staff can work and be present in an atmosphere free from all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation.

CSU Security and HR will assist with enforcing any legal order, whether "orders of protection, "no contact" orders, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by a criminal, civil, or tribal court or by the University.

CSU prohibits the crimes of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Alabama law does not define "consent".  CSU has defined "consent" as knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is clearly communicated. Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced.

CSU has established procedures for reporting violations of University policy. All forms or attempts of sexual assault are regarded as serious offenses that may result in suspension or expulsion. Victims should seek medical treatment immediately and possibly counseling. If assistance is needed, one should contact local Emergency Services by dialing 911. If the offense occurs on campus, Campus Security should be contacted immediately. Campus Security will assist with reporting the incident to the authorities, secure the area, and contact local authorities for assistance with arranging medical transportation and evidence collection. Even if the victim does not want to report the assault to Police, they should report the incident to Campus Security so that the incident can be included in statistics and can be used to identify any patterns developing.

Definition of Sexual Assault:

The definition of "sexual assault" includes, but is not limited to, forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, incest, or statutory rape. Read more information on sexual assault.

Facts about Sexual Assaults:

Sexual assault can happen anywhere. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice:

  • A sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes in America.
  • There are about 213,000 victims of sexual assault each year.
  • 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.
  • Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.
  • Warning signs here.

There are steps You Can Take to Prevent Sexual Assault (Risk Reduction)

  • Create a distraction
  • Ask direct questions and make eye connect
  • Bystander intervention

Reporting a Sexual Assault:

The victim of a sexual offense should:

  • Go to a safe location and call 911.
  • Report the incident to the proper authorities and pursue criminal charges.
  • Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, including the collection and preservation of evidence that is crucial to pursuing criminal prosecution.
  • If the offense occurs on campus, report the assault to Campus Security. CSU Security Authorities will assist in reporting to police and obtaining medical treatment.

Preservation of Evidence of a Sexual Assault

After a sexual assault, it is very important that the victim receive a medical examination. The victim should seek medical attention and have a "rape kit" done. Preserving the evidence from the assault is important. Even if the victim does not wish to file a police report or is certain he or she will not prosecute, evidence should be preserved so the victim can change his or her mind.

The following list of instructions is offered regarding the preservation of evidence:

  • Do not change clothes until you have received medical attention. If the clothes are changed, those worn during the assault should be placed in a paper bag and taken along to the examination.
  • Do not touch anything the suspect may have touched.
  • Do not bathe (or shower) until you have received medical attention.
  • While waiting for medical and law enforcement assistance, try to make mental notes of the incident.

Surviving Sexual Assault:

The survivor of a sexual assault is urged to seek counseling shortly after the sexual assault has occurred. You can obtain help at the following:

The Rape Crisis Center assists in this dire situation. Connect with the center through the Crisis Line, 251-473-7273 (RAPE), and they will begin to help you through a confusing and traumatic time. Whether you need help immediately following the incident or are still healing from long-lasting emotional scars, the Rape Crisis Center is equipped and experienced to connect you with the police, offer counsel and extend a hand to you throughout this event and its aftermath.

Victims of sexual assault may receive free, confidential 24-hour counseling by calling RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) hotline number 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Trained counselors are available at the numbers above 24 hours a day, seven days a week. RAINN can also be reached through e-mail at However, crisis counseling is not available through e-mail. The e-mail address is intended solely for questions or comments. 

CSU provides training on sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

CSU provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through EAP Lifestyle Management, LLC, as an employee benefit. All full-time employees have access to EAP regardless of whether they obtain benefits through the company. Information about the program is available at 251-621-5360 or the EAP Lifestyle website. This service provides referral services and treatment sessions as needed.

Campus Safety Policies:

Sexual assaults violate the standards of conduct expected of every member of the CSU community. Sexual assault is a criminal act, which subjects the perpetrator to criminal and civil penalties under state and federal law. In all cases, CSU will abide by and cooperate with local, state, and federal sanctions. CSU disciplinary action may include suspension or expulsion, depending on the seriousness of the situation.

Change Academic Situation:

CSU will change a victim's academic or employment situation after a sex offense or alleged sex offense if those requested changes are reasonably available.

Procedures for Campus Disciplinary Action in Cases of an Alleged Sex Offense:

The accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a disciplinary proceeding. Also, both the accuser and the accused must be informed of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sex offense.

Sex Offender Registry:

View the Sex offender registry.

Domestic Violence Plan:

Any incident of alleged domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking incidents reported to Campus Security Authorities will be referred to local police for investigation unless the victim refuses to report to the police.
Under section 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994,
"Domestic violence" means a "felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:

  • a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim,
  • a person with whom the victim shares a child in common,
  • a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner,
  • a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies (under VAWA), or
  • any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction."

"Dating violence" means "violence committed by a person:

  • who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim;
  • where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
    • the length of the relationship
    • the type of relationship
    • the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship."

"Stalking" means "engaging in the course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to-

  • fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
  • suffer substantial emotional distress."

CSU Emergency Response Plan:

The CSU Emergency Response Team, consisting of the Office of the President, Human Resources Department, and the Security Department, will determine if there are a significant emergency and the appropriate action or notification to the campus community.  The determination will be made after gathering all available information and weighing the benefit and risk of a warning. It will be the practice to err on the side of caution. The decision to issue the warning to all employees or a portion of employees will be based on each incident. The warning content will be incident specific, will withhold the names of victims as confidential, including instructions on how to prepare for the impending danger, and aid in the prevention of similar occurrences. Most warnings will be issued by email, and if appropriate, followed by an announcement over the building's intercom.
CSU will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.
CSU will post a follow-up or "ALL CLEAR" notice upon termination of the threat to the Campus Community.

Columbia Southern University Active Shooter - Emergency Plan:

Purpose: The purpose of the Active Shooter Emergency Plan is written to identify departments and their responsibilities in response to an active shooter event. This plan applies to situations where there is a person with a gun on campus, both suspected and verified, and also where shots have been fired.
Applicability: This plan applies to Columbia Southern University-Main Campus located at 21982 University Lane, Orange Beach, AL 36561.
Attachments: The following attachments to this Emergency Plan have been assembled from various Government, Police, and other documentation concerning Active Shooter safety guidelines. Because of the unpredictability of Active Shooter events, these are guidelines and should be used as such.

  • Attachment A: Before an Active Shooter Event – Encountering or Coping with Threats and Violence, Safety Guidelines.
  • Attachment B: During an Active Shooter Event – Active Shooter Emergency Safety Guidelines.
  • Attachment C: Characteristics of an Active Shooter.

Roles and Responsibilities

Columbia Southern University Security:

  • The Columbia Southern University Security Department's prime responsibility is to protect the Columbia Southern University Community and be the first responder to an active shooter incident. The actions taken for this type of incident will have the following objectives:
    • Immediately engage the assailant(s)
    • Evacuate the victims
    • Direct affected individuals to medical care, interviews, and counseling
    • Preserve the crime scene for investigation
  • The CSU Security will maintain and follow Columbia Southern University Active Shooter Protocols based on National, State, and Local Law Enforcement accepted practices and guidelines for dealing with active-shooter incidents on campus.
  • The CSU Security Department is authorized to issue an Emergency Notification immediately and directly to the Columbia Southern Community without consulting the emergency response team when an active shooter on campus is confirmed.

Office of the President:

  • The Office of the President is responsible for ongoing communications relative to the event, issuing the follow-up Emergency Notifications and updating of the Emergency Information Telephone Lines and Safety Website.
  • Provide back-up for issuing Emergency Notifications.

Human Resources:

The Human Resources Department is responsible for assisting in the recognition of students/employees at risk. Should a threat present itself, HR will call together the Threat Assessment Team to review the situation. The team will consist of the Office of the President, the CSU Security supervisor, the Human Resources Department, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources, and others as required.

Office of the President:

  • Activate the Emergency Response Plan

Maintenance Department:

After the event, the Maintenance Department is responsible as necessary for the clean-up and restoration of facilities impacted/damaged in the course of any active-shooter incident as soon as crime scene restrictions are removed.


Active shooter events cannot be predicted to follow any pattern, and therefore the following protocol will act as a sequencing guideline for this type of situation:

  • If the University Security Office receives a notice either from a campus source, off-campus telephoned warning, or transfer from the Orange Beach Police Department of a 911 call that a:
    • Gun or weapon has been found on campus.
    • A person with a gun is on campus.
    • Active shooter – has fired shots on campus.
  • CSU Security will respond in the following way:
    • If (gun or weapon) is found, the responding officer will follow the appropriate protocol for removing the weapon.
    • If a person with a gun is on campus and is a danger to himself only, the responding officer will follow appropriate protocol for the situation.
    • If a person with a gun is a danger to others, the responding officer will follow the CSU Active Shooter Protocol.
    • Notify Orange Beach Police / 911.
    • If it is determined that an active shooter incident is occurring from the phone call received, the officer in charge will follow the CSU Active Shooter Protocol.
  • For an active shooter on campus, the person taking the call will immediately:
    • Advise CSU Security to respond to the incident
    • Will contact the OBPD and notify them that CSU Security is responding
    • Will notify the Office of the President or HR immediately to issue the emergency notification.
  • The Office of the President will activate the Emergency Response Plan and designate a location to assemble the Emergency Response Team.
  • The Emergency Response Team will assemble at the appropriate location when it is safe to coordinate recovery assistance to the victims and families, media information releases, and other appropriate action as necessary.

CSU Active Shooter Protocol

An active shooter incident is a very volatile and fluid situation, and as such, each one must be managed as it unfolds. The main objective is to ensure the safety of the individuals on campus and bring the incident to a close as soon as possible with as few injuries as possible. To that end, the following steps are to be taken:

  • CSU Security will immediately begin the search for the assailant and immediately engage him/her
  • CSU Security will not render aid to victims until the assailant has been neutralized or has left the campus
  • Once the incident has been resolved, Security will aid in the treatment and evacuation of victims

Attachment A: Before an Active Shooter Event

Encountering or Coping with Threats and Violence, Safety Guidelines

The following guidelines were taken from a United States Office of Personnel Management document on "Dealing with Violence in the Workplace," which summarizes the actions you should (or should not) take when encountering a hostile or threatening situation.

For an angry or hostile person:
  • Stay calm
  • Listen attentively
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Be courteous
  • Be patient
  • Keep the situation in your control
For a person shouting, swearing, or threatening:
  • Signal a coworker that you need help (Use a duress alarm (panic button) or code words)
  • Do not make any calls yourself
  • Have someone call CSU Security (ext.1114 or 251-284-3768)
For someone threatening you or others with a gun, knife, or other weapons:
  • Stay calm
  • Quietly signal for help (Use a duress alarm or code words)
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Stall for time
  • Keep talking - but follow instructions from the person who has the weapon
  • Do not risk harm to yourself or others
  • Never try to grab a weapon
  • Watch for a safe chance to escape to a safe area

Attachment B: During an Active Shooter Event

Active Shooter - Emergency Safety Guidelines

The following guidelines cannot cover every possible situation that might occur. Nevertheless, they serve as an awareness and training tool likely to reduce the number of injuries or death if followed as soon as a situation develops.

Violent incidents, such as an active shooter, can occur on University grounds or within proximity of the Campus with little or no warning. An active shooter is a suspect or assailant whose activity is immediately causing severe injury or death and has not been contained. Active shooter situations are dynamic and demand an immediate response to the community and law enforcement's situation to stop the shooting and prevent further harm to the community.

In general, how you respond to an active shooter is dictated by the situation's specific circumstances.  If you should find yourself in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm -- your actions will influence others, trust your instincts, and call ext.1114 or 251-284-3768 as soon as possible.

The CSU Security, along with local and state police, has adopted accepted law enforcement response procedures to contain and terminate such threats as quickly as possible. The following guidelines taken from those sources will enable you to take appropriate actions for yourself and are intended for emerging or in progress situations.

General Guidelines to Remember:
  • Trust your instincts
  • Act Smart
  • Make good decisions
  • Take care of yourself
  • Take care of others
Immediate Action:

Secure the immediate area. Whether a classroom, conference room, office, or restroom:

  • If able, lock or barricade the door. Block the door using whatever is available: desks, tables, file cabinets, other furniture, books, etc.
  • After securing the door, stay behind solid objects away from the door as much as possible.
  • If an assailant enters your room and leaves, lock or barricade the door behind him/her.

Protective actions. Take appropriate steps to reduce your vulnerability:

  • Close blinds.
  • Block windows.
  • Turn off radios and computers.
  • Silence cell phones.
  • Place signs in exterior windows to identify your location and the location of injured persons.
  • Keep people calm and quiet.
  • After securing the room, people should be positioned out of sight and behind items that might offer additional protection – walls, desks, file cabinets, bookshelves, etc.
  • Do not sound fire alarms. This may cause others to flee the buildings and put them at risk.
  • Call CSU Security (ext.1114 or 251-284-3768) and 911 if safe to do so

Unsecured Areas. If you find yourself in an open area, immediately seek protection:

  • Put something between you and the assailant.
  • Consider trying to escape if you know where the assailant is, and there appears to be a safe escape route immediately available to you.
  • If in doubt, find the safest area available and secure it the best way you can.

Call ext.1114 or 251-284-3768, and then dial 911. Program these emergency numbers into your cell phone. Be aware that the telephone systems may be overwhelmed during this type of incident. All emergencies should be reported to the campus enforcement by dialing ext.1114 or 251-284-3768 and dial 911. You may hear multiple rings but stay on the line. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible, such as the following:

  • What is happening?
  • Where you are located, including building name and room numbers.
  • The number of people at your specific location.
  • Injuries if any, including the number of injured and types of injuries.
  • Your name and other information as requested.

Try to provide information in a calm, clear manner so that the operator can quickly relay the information to responding emergency personnel.
What to report: Try to note as much as possible about the assailant, including:

  • What exactly did you hear – e.g., gunshots, explosions, etc.
  • The specific location of the assailant.
  • The number of assailants.
  • Gender, race, and age of the assailant.
  • Language of commands used by the assailant.
  • Clothing color and style.
  • Physical features- e.g., height, weight, facial hair, glasses.
  • Type of weapons- e.g., handgun, rifle, shotgun, explosives.
  • Description of any backpack or bag.
  • Do you recognize the assailant? Do you know his/her name?
  • If safe to do so, allow others to seek refuge with you.

Treat the injured: The 911 operator will notify law enforcement and other emergency services such as EMS, Fire, and Rescue. EMS, Fire, and Rescue will respond to the site but will not enter the areas until the area is secured by law enforcement. You may have to treat the injured as best as you can until the medical personnel is allowed to enter the involved. Remember basic first aid:

  • For bleeding, apply pressure, and elevate. Many items can be used for this purpose – e.g., clothing, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, newspapers, etc.
  • Reassure those in the area that help will arrive – try to stay quiet and calm.
Unsecuring the area:
  • The assailant may not stop until his objectives have been met or until engaged and neutralized by law enforcement.
  • Always consider the risk of exposure posed by opening the door for any reason.
  • Attempts to rescue people outside a secure area only should be made if it can be done without further endangering the people inside the secured area.
  • Be aware that the assailant may bang on the door, yell for help, or otherwise attempt to entice you to open the door of a secured area.
  • If there is any doubt about a threat to the individual's safety inside the room, the area needs to remain secure.
Law Enforcement Response:

CSU Security will immediately respond to the area, assisted by other local law enforcement agencies. Remember, help is on the way. It is essential for you to:

  • Remain inside a secured area.
  • Law enforcement will locate, contain, and stop the assailant.
  • The safest place for you to be is inside a safe room.
  • The assailant may not flee when law enforcement enters the building but instead may target arriving officers.

Injured Person: Initial responding officers will not treat the injured or begin evacuations until the threat is neutralized, and the area is secure.

  • You may need to explain this to others to calm them.
  • Once the threat is neutralized, officers will begin treatment and evacuation.

Evacuation: Responding officers will establish safe corridors for persons to evacuate.

  • This may be time-consuming.
  • Remain in secure areas until instructed otherwise.
  • You may be instructed to keep your hands on your head or drop to the ground.
  • You may be searched.
  • You may be escorted out of the building by law enforcement personnel – follow their direction.
  • After the evacuation, you may be taken to a staging or holding area for medical care, interviewing, or counseling.
  • Once you have been evacuated, you will not be permitted to retrieve items or access the area until law enforcement releases the crime scene.
Emergency Notifications:

An emergency notification message will be broadcast as soon as possible for this type of emergency.

  • The initial message will inform you of where the incident is occurring.
  • If you are inside the area described, you should follow the guidelines above.
  • If you are not inside the area described, you should follow the guidelines to stay in place and not come to the area involved.
  • Communications, including cell phones, landline phones, and the internet, of a non-emergency nature, should be kept to a minimum during the event.

Once the incident is resolved, you will receive an additional message to notify you of the incident status and provide further directions.

Attachment C: Characteristics of an Active Shooter

The following is a list of characteristics commonly associated with active shooter suspects.  The following is a list of characteristics commonly associated with active shooter suspects. The list is compiled from past active shooters' descriptions and is not meant to be a comprehensive list describing all active shooters.

  • Active shooters usually focus on assaulting persons with whom they come into contact. Their intention to cause bodily harm is typically an expression of hatred or rage rather than a crime commission.
  • An active shooter is likely to engage more than one target. Active shooters may be intent on killing many people as quickly as possible.
  • Generally, the first indication of an active shooter's presence is when he or she begins to assault victims.
  • Active shooters often go to locations where potential victims are close together, such as classrooms, libraries, dining halls, and gymnasiums.
  • Tactics such as containment and negotiation, generally associated with standoff incidents, may not be adequate in active shooter events. Active shooters typically continue their attack despite the arrival of emergency responders.
  • Active shooters are often better armed than the police, sometimes using explosives, booby traps, and body armor. Active shooters are not limited to the use of firearms in accomplishing their attacks on victims. They may use bladed weapons or any tool that constitutes deadly physical force in the circumstance in which it is used.
  • Active shooters may have a planned attack and be prepared for a sustained confrontation with the police. Historically, active shooters have not attempted to hide their identity or conceal the commission of their attacks. Escape from the police is usually not a priority of the active shooter.
  • Active shooters may employ some diversion type, such as smoke bombs or set off fire alarms.
  • Active shooters may be indiscriminate in their violence, or they may seek specific victims.
  • Active shooters may be suicidal, deciding to die during their actions either at the hand of others or by a self-inflicted wound.
  • Active shooters usually have some degree of familiarity with the building or location they choose to occupy.
  • Active shooter events or an active shooter may go inactive by going to a barricaded status with access to victims.