Council receives update on emergency protocols

Ombuds Officer Elaine Newell updated the Professional and Scientific Council on the latest news from the Ombuds Office during a 2014 meeting.

The Professional and Scientific Council met Thursday, in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union.

The Professional and Scientific Council makes policy recommendations to the administration, advocating for the university’s professional staff and researchers.

Elaine Newell, Ombuds Officer, and Stephen Simpson, council member from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety gave special presentations.

According to Newell, universities start Ombuds centers in an attempt to prevent litigation. The Ombuds Office councils faculty and grad students, recommending solutions to issues regarding supervisors and professors. Newell’s office specializes in alternative dispute resolutions and conflict management.

“Business is booming,” Newell said.

Since 2008, Newell said about 600 new clients have visited her office, and over the last quarter, she has seen business double. She attributes the increase to better awareness and knowledge of her office.

Along with Newell’s report, Simpson’s report dealt with safety. Iowa State University’s Critical Incident Response Team, which consists of representatives from the provost office, the Department of Human Resources, the Dean of Students Chair’s, and the ISU Police, created a plan of action describing what to do if there is an emergency on campus. Simpson, in partner with the ISU Police, has also created a video to go along with the posters.

“We talked about how do we inform people of what their proper actions should be,” Simpson said. “We talked about doing an online training, but we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to be a little more creative.”

The response team is focused on four emergencies: Fires, tornados, hazmat incidents and violence on campus.

An informational video can be found on the department’s website and on Facebook.

“We want to get this message out any way we can,” Simpson said.

Iowa State faces logistical problems when dealing with emergencies that smaller schools do not.

“To reach a campus that’s the size of a city, it really takes a group effort,” Simpson said. “Not one person can do that. That’s why any of your suggestions are great suggestions.”

According to Julie Nuter, associate vice president of human resources, the university is currently searching for a Dean of the Library and a new Chief Information’s Officer, to replace Jim Davis, who has announced plans to step down as CIO. The university wishes to have Davis’ replacement by July 1.