Preparing for a VIP Guest on College Campuses
4 Ways to Ensure a Safe & Secure Visit
College campuses are almost always bustling with students going to and from classes, studying in the sun, playing games, or hanging out with friends. It is no secret that campus officers work hard to keep their campus community safe, while still allowing freedom for students and visitors to access the university grounds. When a VIP or special guest arrives on campus though, the safety and security atmosphere changes. Whether it be a presidential candidate, dignitary, band, actor, etc., additional protocols and procedures must be put into place and followed. Below are 4 ways you can prepare for a VIP guest on your college campus and ensure a safe and secure visit.
When news agencies and the media hear about your guest, they will likely want to cover the story. Many times campuses avoid the press because it can easily become chaotic, however avoiding them can sometimes cause more issues. When the press are avoided, they may try to find alternative ways to cover the story like filming from afar, soliciting quotes, or piecing together information. When this happens, the media coverage is often wrong. Instead, designate a special area for the media and allow them to film certain areas and ask questions so everyone gets the same information. Also, work with the guests’ team to provide information ahead of time.
You’ll have plenty of communication and coordination with the VIP guests’ team prior to their arrival. If they are attending for a rally, ask the guests’ team to provide images they would like shown to the media, and have questions that the press are likely to ask already prepared. Having answers to frequently asked questions will help to minimize chaos, while also offering the media true and accurate information. Also, if the team provides this information, then only what they want shared will be shared. Depending on the guest you have on your college campus, they may be more open to a media presence, so coordinate this with the team prior to arrival. If the guest requests no media, house them at a remote location, if they are open to some media coverage, coordinate what the press should be allowed to see and hear.
When a VIP guest arrives on your college campus, they should arrive inconspicuously. Security should be heightened, but not so much as to cause a scene or draw unwanted attention. The guest will likely be transported by their own team of security, but they will need floorplans of primary and alternate ingress and egress. Provide these well in advance, discuss and coordinate these prior to arrival. Alternate means of ingress and egress are critical in case of emergency and the VIP guest needs to be moved to another location. Having multiple ways to move the guest is crucial to complete safety and security during their visit.
College campuses are designed specifically for freedom of access, but that doesn’t mean the campus can’t be locked down if need be. Depending on who the VIP guest is, you may need to lockdown the campus for the safety of the guest. If this is the case, have a check in process for those who are accessing your campus, including students, faculty, staff, visitors, etc. They should be directed to a single point of entry where their campus ID and driver’s license are checked to confirm their identity and their need to access the campus. Also, if security is a big threat, you can have the local law enforcement on scene with working k9s to detect any suspicious behavior or for random inspections.
Although some of these tips may disrupt some aspects of normal campus life, they are critical to ensuring safety and security for not only your special guest, but also those who are on your campus during that time. VIP guest arrival is an exciting time for any college or university, but safety and security should not be compromised. Coordinating with the guests’ team and providing additional procedures will help to provide necessary safety.