Crisis Management

Missouri State University-West Plains is committed to supporting the welfare of its students, faculty, staff and visitors. Preparing a campus crisis/emergency response plan and allocating resources to respond to possible emergencies is one way in which the University offers this support. The plan is fashioned in accordance with appropriate laws, regulations and policies that govern crisis/emergency preparedness and reflects the best and most current thinking in this area.

The Campus Crisis Management and Emergency Operations Plan is designed to maximize human survival and preservation of property, minimize danger, restore normal operations of the University, and assure responsive communications with the University community, surrounding neighborhoods, and the City of West Plains.

This plan is set in operation whenever a natural or induced emergency affecting the University reaches proportions that cannot be handled by established measures. A crisis may be sudden and unforeseen, or there may be varying periods of warning. This plan is intended to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate contingencies of all types, magnitudes and durations.

The plan provides for aiding the local community when appropriate, though the prime responsibility of the plan is to the University community for which it is designed. The intent is for the plan to be viewed as a tool to accomplish a stated purpose with a minimum of confusion and wasted effort.


The Campus Crisis Management and Emergency Operations Plan is put into effect whenever a crisis, man-made or natural, disrupts operations, threatens life, or creates major damage within or otherwise affects the University campus community. While it is likely that outside assistance would be available in most large-scale crisis/emergency situations, the University must be prepared to carry out crisis response and short-term recovery operations on an independent basis.

This plan focuses on the following types of crises:

  • Armed Assailant
  • Bomb Threat
  • Civil Disorder
  • Death – Student
  • Death – Faculty/Staff
  • Death – Other
  • Earthquake/Building Collapse
  • Fire/Explosion
  • Hazardous Chemical Release
  • Hostage Situation
  • Mass Casualties
  • Severe Weather/Tornado
  • Utility Failure
  • Workplace Violence


The authority to declare a campus state of emergency lies with the chancellor or his or her designees. A campus state of emergency is in effect when the chancellor or his or her designee so declares.

Emergency Committee

An Emergency Committee is the core of the emergency operations organization. The committee's duties and responsibilities relate closely to their normal authority and functions. In the event of a crisis, however, coordination and organization of all operations at the University shall be directed by the Emergency Committee functioning from an Emergency Operations Center. In the event of a crisis situation, the Administrative Council will function as the Emergency Committee. The committee, under the leadership of the chancellor (or designee), will make decisions, communicate with responding emergency organizations, and interact with the media and the public according to the particular circumstances of the crisis situation.

The decision-making responsibility of the Emergency Committee includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Decide the necessary level of response required to manage the emergency.
  • Use the established response operations as a guide to deal with the situation.
  • Facilitate a multi-unit response requiring activation of the plan.
  • Exercise control over emergency operations and provide guidance on matters of basic policy and decision-making authority.
  • Authorize the evacuation and/or closing of University facilities.
  • Determine an institutional spokesperson and coordinate the release of all official information and instructions to the public.
  • Keep the University president informed and obtain guidance as needed.

Emergency Operations Center

The primary location of the Emergency Operations Center is the conference room in Lybyer Enhanced Technology Center 208. Unless told otherwise, if the Emergency Committee is activated, members will report to the conference room.

If for safety or other reasons it is impractical for the Emergency Committee to assemble in the Lybyer conference room, alternative locations will be used in the following priority order:

  1. Kellett Hall parlor and
  2. Chancellor's residence (Richards' House) located at 212 Harlin Drive in West Plains.