The world can be a scary place. While we’d like to avoid them, emergencies happen, and it can be frightening to send your child off into the world on their own. Luckily, UT has a ton of emergency resources meant to keep your child safe and to help give you a sound mind.
One of the most used emergency systems at UT is UT Alert. Whenever something that would classify as an “emergency” happens on or around campus, UT Alert sends out text and email alerts to all those signed up for alerts.
UT Alerts are normally only used for very serious or pressing emergencies. Incidents such as shootings, assaults, robberies, inclement weather, fires, campus closures, utility outages and important COVID-19 updates have all been reported through UT Alert over the past few years.
If you aren’t a member of the campus community, there are still a few ways that you can keep up with UT Alerts. Emergency messages from UT Alert will be posted to UT’s twitter account soon after the message is sent out to the campus community. In case of a major emergency, information will be posted to the front page of utk.edu.
Distressed Student Protocol
If a student on campus feels they or someone they know is distressed and have nowhere else to turn, UT’s Distressed Student Protocol might be for them.
The protocol, which was created to foster student success and well-being, can be used by both students and faculty. Calling 974-4357 (974-HELP) will get students in contact with a case manager that will try to help them through whatever they are struggling with.
According to UT’s emergency resources website, UT recommends reaching out to 974-HELP if a student is exhibiting excessive or inappropriate anger, behavioral or emotional change, withdrawal, change in hygiene or appearance, alcohol or drug abuse, expressing unusual thoughts, exhibiting unusual behaviors or a decline in academic performance. Faculty or staff may also reach out to the help line on a student’s behalf if they are feeling uncomfortable or uneasy, feeling alarmed or frightened, feeling that something is not right, are concern about a student’s ability to function or worry about a student’s comments or behavior.
Emergency Blue Phones
If you’ve taken a tour around campus, you might have noticed all of the big white pillars with blue lights on top of them dotted around campus. These aren’t simply for show — they’re emergency phones designed to help students in distress.
If a student happens to feel distressed at any point in the day, they can use the emergency phones to contact campus police or simply sound an alarm to scare off potential villains. UT also uses these emergency phones as speakers to notify those on campus in case of a large-scale emergency.
With over 150 phones around campus, you won’t be able to go far without running into one. While these phones aren’t used very often, having them adds to the general feeling of safety on campus.
UT Police Department
With over 31,000 students on campus, UT is basically its own community. Thus, it has its own police department completely dedicated to keeping campus safe.
The UT police department does far more than simply enforce the law on UT’s campus. They offer classes such as active shooter training and rape aggression defense for students and faculty in order to help those on campus protect themselves against assailants. The UTPD will also assist those on campus with vehicle troubles and will jump start your car in case of a dead battery at no additional cost.
The UTPD can be contacted at 865-974-3111 for emergencies and 865-974-3114 for non-emergencies. Of course, if you or someone on campus is in a very serious situation, the best idea is still to call 911.