Feb. 1, 2024

Dear UNLV Community,

Thank you all for your continued resilience and fortitude as we have moved into this spring semester. I am so proud of how our university community has rallied together to support one another, continuing our important mission while being mindful of the unique path to recovery for everyone. I know some are still struggling, and I continue to emphasize that we have resources to help. Please seek them out, and share them with others who may be in need. 

As promised, I want to keep you updated on campus safety and security enhancements as we continue to progress on our Rebel Recovery Program and adjust to meet the evolving needs of our university community. 

Expanded Hours for Private Security 

University Police Services (UPD) will continue to operate with an enhanced presence on the Maryland Parkway campus. Additionally, we have increased the hours of the private security firm working to patrol the campus. Those individuals are now on campus an additional three hours, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, including weekends. These individuals do not have law enforcement authority, but they’re working in coordination with UPD and their presence is another way to bolster crime prevention by monitoring buildings and public areas on campus. Further, the individuals are trained in CPR and emergency medical procedures and have already come to the aid of one individual experiencing a medical emergency on our campus last week. 

Security and Safety Committee

The UNLV Committee on Safety and Security met for the first time last week. The committee consists of 18 faculty, staff, students, and administrators. The full committee will meet twice a month starting in February through the end of the semester, and will focus on the following key areas: 

  • Safety and security recommendations for campus buildings and public spaces
  • Policy and protocols for communications, community stakeholder engagement, and coordination of security and safety programming
  • Suggestions on personnel responsibilities for chairs, deans, and senior leadership in response to emergency situations.

I anticipate that stakeholder groups or individuals may be invited to provide expertise or input at committee meetings throughout the semester. 

Please join me in thanking the following committee members for their service to our university: Maggie Farrell, dean of University Libraries (committee chair and dean rep); Neil Opfer (Faculty Senate rep); Ashley Stone (Administrative Faculty rep); Breann Wickson (Classified Staff rep); Bryan Hilbert and Nakia Jackson-Hale (President’s Advisory Committee reps); Christopher Forepaugh (GPSA rep); Alexus Loera and Nicole Garcia-Contreras (CSUN reps); Musa Pam (facilities management rep); Mark Sakurada (UPD rep); Alicia Rico and Ian McDonough (department chair reps); Shauna Landis (CAPS/wellness rep); Bob Soulliere (OIT rep); Heather Ortiz (communications rep); Jennifer McCarthy (provost office rep); and Kris Davidson (research office rep). 

Building Doors and Locks

Temporary repairs have been made to nearly all of the approximately 500 doors damaged during the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 6 incident. Locks still need to be installed on some of the doors, and we expect to complete that process in the next week or two. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we grapple with supply chain issues and other variables. We have also started the formal RFP process to secure a vendor to make permanent repairs. This requires us to work closely with the insurance company and follow the state procurement process and related building codes and requirements. 

Fire Alarm Testing

State Fire Code requires testing of fire alarm systems across the Maryland Parkway campus, and Facilities Management or Risk Management and Safety will notify the campus community via UNLV Official and Student Official at least 48 hours in advance of any planned future testing. In coordination with the State Fire Marshal, fire testing this spring semester will mainly involve the use of flashing red strobe lights in campus buildings, and most audible fire alarm testing has been postponed until this summer. 

However, construction and renovation projects that involve fire alarm systems must include audible alarms to contractually complete the projects. That requires us to complete comprehensive fire system alarm tests for both Beam Hall (BEH) and Tonopah North residence hall in the near future and campus will be notified accordingly. The Lynn Bennett Early Childhood Education Center will continue to conduct audible fire drills and fire alarm tests as scheduled, with no changes. 

Although fire alarm testing will be non-audible for the remainder of the spring semester with few exceptions, systems can sometimes malfunction and cause inadvertent audible alarms. Fire technicians will silence the audible alarms as quickly as possible if this occurs. I apologize in advance if that causes anyone undue stress.

UNLV Strong Website Updates 

The countless acts of kindness and outpouring of support within the UNLV family and from throughout Southern Nevada have been nothing short of amazing. The UNLV Strong website has been updated to include a Gratitude Message Board, where individuals can share their stories of kindness and offer words of encouragement. We’ve also added a section to recognize our supporters and partners throughout Southern Nevada and beyond for all they did to help us in the hours, days, and weeks following the Dec. 6 tragedy. 

In conclusion, thank you for your continued commitment to our mission and university. It brings a smile to my face to see our campus again vibrant with research, academic, and cultural activities this spring. As we continue the Rebel Recovery process together, please know that the safety and security of our campus will remain a top priority. Together as Rebels, we will continue to move forward and to heal.

Warm regards,

Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.