Safety within the residence halls begins with the resident. The Office of Residential Living encourages you to keep your door locked at all times. Report suspicious behavior to a staff member and/or the University Police Department (UPD). Never prop outside doors or the fire doors in the hallways. Any resident that does prop doors places all others in the hall at risk and will be subject to disciplinary action.

It is each resident’s responsibility to follow the rules and regulations associated with safety procedures in the residence halls. In a community living situation, the safety practices of each individual greatly affect the safety of the other members of the community.

Emergency Procedures

In case of an emergency, contact one of the following:

Room Entry

The University recognizes residents’ desire for privacy, particularly in the context of their group living situation, and will do what it can to protect and guarantee their privacy. However, the University, through a residence hall staff member or University official, reserves the right to enter a resident’s room at any time for the following purposes:

  • To determine compliance with all relevant health and safety regulations. Health and safety checks will occur throughout each semester, and prior notification will be posted; see below for details.
  • To provide cleaning and/or maintenance.
  • To conduct an inventory of University property.
  • If there is an indication of imminent danger to life, health, and/or property.
  • Reasonable belief that a violation of rules or regulations is or has occurred.
  • To search for missing property.
  • To ensure that proper break period closing procedures have been followed.

Items that violate University or departmental regulations will be confiscated. Examples of items that will be confiscated include candles and unapproved appliances. UPD will be contacted to confiscate alcohol, alcohol containers, drugs, and drug paraphernalia.

A room search by a designated Residential Living staff member is possible for any of the above-listed purposes. A room search by law enforcement officials must be accomplished through the use of valid search warrant, or the student may sign a release to be searched at his or her own approval.

Health & Safety Checks

Health and safety checks will occur a minimum of two times each semester and notification will be posted at least 48 hours in advance of the week the health and safety checks will take place. See above for details on Room Entry.

Campus Evacuation

In the event of a campus emergency, emergency responders may choose to evacuate an area or to shelter in place. However, in the event of an actual campus evacuation, follow instructions from emergency personnel and University officials. An evacuation is an organized withdrawal from a building or area to reach a safe haven. Upon notification to evacuate, quickly:

  • Take only essentials with you (i.e. glasses, medication, ID, cash/credit cards).
  • Do not take time to pack belongings.
  • Turn off unnecessary equipment, computers and appliances.
  • Close and lock the door as you exit your room.
  • Follow the directions provided for safe routes of evacuation.
  • Use your personal vehicle for evacuation unless you are specifically instructed not to do so.

Up-to-date information will be provided, as available, through campus emergency notification systems and/or the local media.

Buff Alert: WT's Emergency Contact System

Buff Alert Buff Alert is an emergency notification service that gives West Texas A&M the ability to communicate health and safety emergency information quickly - by email and text message. By enrolling in Buff Alert, university officials can quickly pass on safety-related information, regardless of your location.

Fire Safety in the Halls

Have an Exit Strategy

In case of fire, the best way out may not be the way in...

Fire Procedures

Fire alarm pull stations and fire extinguishers are installed throughout the halls. The fire alarm system in each building will automatically notify University personnel, as well as the local fire department when activated.

In the event of an actual fire or a drill, all residents are required to evacuate the building according to the rules established by each residence hall. Evacuation information is available on the back of every residence hall room door. Follow the instructions of Residential Living staff, UPD officers, and/or fire-fighting personnel. Keep the following items in mind in the event of a fire:

  • Exit the building. Walk; don’t run. Be particularly careful in staircases. Do not use elevators.
  • Proceed directly to a place of safety. Do not attempt to salvage personal belongings.
  • Close doors and windows when you leave.
  • Before opening a closed door, feel it to see if it is hot. If it is hot, attempt to find another exit route.
  • A towel or blanket soaked in water can be helpful in combating smoke inhalation.
  • At all times, follow the instructions of personnel authorized to take charge at the scene of the emergency. If you have any questions about the procedures, contact your Resident Assistant immediately.
  • Do not enter the building until given the all-clear by staff or fire professionals. Stand away from the building and do not block emergency vehicles; your residence hall staff will communicate the designated spot of safety during the mandatory floor meeting. 

Fire Doors

It is absolutely essential that corridor and stairwell doors be kept closed at all times. Closed doors retard the travel of smoke, heat, toxic gases, and fire from the area of origin. Nothing should be attached to a fire door. Residents found propping door, or tampering with fire doors or labels affixed to the door or door frame will be subject to disciplinary sanctions.

Tornado/Severe Weather

When a tornado or other severe weather is reported, residents are to follow the procedures of each building and move in an orderly manner to the designated location within the building for shelter (see your RA for hall-specific locations). If a tornado warning is declared, immediately move to the designated area of safety. If there is no time, get under your desk and place your mattress over your desk. Always protect your head and neck. Keep away from windows. Keep the following items in mind in the event of a tornado:

  • Close your room door.
  • Proceed to the hall’s designated safety area; this includes restrooms and stairwells (away from windows).
  • Take a blanket or a pillow if possible.

Syringe Disposal

All individuals using hypodermic needles are required to properly dispose of them to prevent students, visitors, and University staff members from accidental needle exposure or injury. This means placing needles in a red biohazard sharps container, available through the Office of Student Medical Services upon request. Biohazard containers should be returned to Student Medical Services for disposal - do not attempt to personally dispose of these items.

Good Samaritan Policy

To promote the safety, health, and well-being of WTAMU students, the University expects its community members and student organizations to immediately contact emergency medical services or law enforcement by calling 911 when they have reason to believe a fellow student is too impaired/intoxicated to seek medical help. Students should not wait for an individual’s condition to worsen before calling for help, but should act immediately when they feel another student’s life, health or well-being may be in jeopardy.

WTAMU students and organizations who call for assistance and are subsequently reported to the student conduct administrator as having violated the alcohol provisions of this code will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions, nor have a conduct file created for an alcohol violation. However, if other forms of misconduct occur concurrently with the alleged alcohol violation, students will be held accountable for those violations. In other words, this provision does not preclude disciplinary action for other violations of this code (e.g. hazing, property damage, sexual misconduct, etc.).

The student conduct administrator will record the names of students involved in the incident for the purposes of accurate reporting and future evaluation of each student’s conduct. In order for this provision to apply, students involved in the incident may be required to participate in an alcohol education program or seek medical treatment for alcohol/drug abuse but these requirements will not be recorded as sanctions. These actions will be taken to address concerns about a student’s health and well-being.

This provision will not prevent students from receiving a citation from local and state law enforcement authorities. Repeated reliance on this provision solely for the purpose of avoiding disciplinary action by the University will be considered interference with the orderly operation of the conduct process.

Students who have experienced sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may report the incident to University officials or UPD without being held responsible or sanctioned for a drug or alcohol violation of this code.

Missing Student Statement

If a member the WTAMU community has reason to believe that a student who resides on campus is missing, he or she should notify the University Police Department (UPD) 806-651-2300 and the Office of Residential Living 806-651-3000 to initiate the Residence Life Missing Student Procedure.

If UPD determines that the student has been missing for more than 24 hours, then UPD will notify the student’s missing person contact no later than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing. If the missing student is under the age of 18 and is not an emancipated (legal independent status) individual, UPD will notify the student’s parent or legal guardian immediately after the student has been determined to be missing for more than 24 hours.

In addition to registering an emergency contact, students residing on campus have the option to confidentially identify an individual to be contacted in the event the student is determined to be missing for more than 24 hours. If a student has identified such an individual, UPD will notify that individual no later than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing. Students who wish to identify a confidential contact can do so through their My Buff Portal through the student planning section of Buff Advisor. The contact information provided will be accessible only to authorized campus officials and law enforcement personnel and may not be disclosed outside of a missing person investigation.

Bedbug Information

In recent years, bedbugs have made a resurgence in this country. The following information is being provided to calm any fears about bedbugs and to instruct residents about what to do if bedbugs are suspected in your room.Bedbug Life Cycle

What is a bedbug?

Adult bedbugs are slightly smaller than a lady bug or about 3/8 of an inch long. They are reddish-brown in color with flat oval-shaped bodies. Bedbugs feed on the blood of people and other warm blooded animals. They are nocturnal feeders who, unlike lice or fleas, don’t live on hosts but rather in the "nests" of hosts. Bedbugs do not fly or leap but rather hide in dark crevices close to food sources. The average lifespan for a bedbug is 12 to 18 months. Bedbugs can live for months without feeding. Bedbugs are spread by hitchhiking from areas of infestation on clothes, furniture, bedding, and suitcases.

Are bedbugs a concern here?

Bedbugs were scarce during the latter part of the last century, but their populations have surged in recent years. Changes in the types of pesticides and their usage, as well as an increase in international travel, have contributed to the rise of the bedbug. Bedbugs are most common in places where many people sleep. These places include hotels, motels, apartments, cruise ships, and residence halls. Bedbugs can easily travel on clothing, linens, and furniture. Infestations of bedbugs do not necessarily indicate poor hygiene.

Can bedbugs hurt me?

Although bites can cause severe itching, they are relatively harmless. When a bedbug bites, it releases a salivary fluid which can irritate skin and cause allergic reactions over time. Scratching the bites can cause secondary infections and scaring. Washing the bite area with soap and water and applying an anti-itch/antihistamine cream is recommended. If infection occurs, seek medical attention. Bedbugs are not known to transmit any blood borne diseases such as HIV or AIDS.

Do I have bedbugs?

Bedbug bites are identified by small welts similar to mosquito bites. Often these welts occur in rows of three or more and cause itching and discomfort. These bites show up in the morning or middle of the night. If bedbugs are present, tiny dark excrement stains will be on the sheets, pillowcases, and mattresses. Molted skins and egg shells may also be present, but look for the crawling or dead adults as well. In cases of severe infestation, a musty sweet smell may be detected.

Examine areas around the bed and sleeping quarters for signs of bedbug activity. Bedbugs prefer areas around fabric, wood, and paper. Check the folds or seams in bedding and linens. Check around the headboard and footboard, paying special attention to corners and crevices. Check baseboards, moldings, and carpet seams near and around the bed. Bedbugs often travel up, so check areas above the level where you sleep. Check artwork and wall hangings, curtains, and walls. Look for any excrement spots, skin casings, or live bugs.

What if I have bedbugs?

Please contact your RA or Residence Hall Director / Area Coordinator as soon as possible. They will contact the proper entity to evaluate and treat, if needed, your room. Bedbugs CAN be controlled with vigilance and constant inspection and treatment by professional pest control technicians.

How do I prevent getting bedbugs?

  • Do not bring infested items into your room. Thoroughly inspect any "freebie" or secondhand furniture or accessories before you bring them in.
  • Check luggage, clothing, and bedding after trips, especially after trips abroad.
  • Clean up and reduce clutter to eliminate some of their favorite hiding spots.
  • Keep rooms clean and tidy. Vacuum crevices and upholstery regularly.
  • Vacuum mattresses frequently or permanently encase a mattress in a mattress bag.
  • Pull bed away from wall or other furniture. Tuck in sheets and blankets to avoid contact with the floors or walls.

If you should have any other questions or concerns, do not hesitate to ask your RA, Residence Hall Director / Area Coordinator, or contact the Office of Residential Living.