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The Aftermath of Tragedy on Campus - 2010 Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference, Margolis Healy & Associates, LLC

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The Aftermath of Tragedy on Campus - 2010 Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference, Margolis Healy & Associates, LLC

  1. 1. The Aftermath of Tragedy on Campus Dr. Gary J. Margolis Steven J. Healy Jeffrey J. Nolan, Esq.
  2. 2. Suspect  on  the  Loose  at  Delaware  State© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  3. 3. AGENDA • MGQ Case Example • Challenges (Students, Faculty/Staff, Media) • Legal Issues • Collaboration • Lessons Learned© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  4. 4. Michelle Gardner-Quinn© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  5. 5. Media Coverage© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  6. 6. The Facts • Report missing on Saturday, Oct 7, 2006 by parents at UVM for parent’s weekend • Last seen in the early morning hours returning to campus • In cell phone contact with friends when her phone failed • Made a call from a borrowed cell phone© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  7. 7. The Missing Person Case • Recognized immediately as an unusual case by police investigators • Campus/city fear and anxiety • National media arrived Tuesday (10/10/06) • Staging and media management concerns arise© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  8. 8. Investigation & Response • 70-plus local, state and federal investigators • Search & Rescue Teams • 24/7 Command Post at BPD • Family liaison • Media liaison • University EOC© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  9. 9. The Suspect: Brian Rooney© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  10. 10. Why the National Attention? • Vermont & the University of Vermont • Suspected foul play - abduction/ kidnapping • Media indicated that had this been a “routine” rape/murder investigation without the disappearance, then it would have carried little national interest© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  11. 11. Challenges: STUDENTS • Those directly involved (guilt/trauma) • Residential community • Re-victimization • Students wanting to help • Prayer Vigils, Memorial Services, Contemplative Spaces • Counseling services© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  12. 12. Challenges: FACULTY/STAFF • Impact on student services personnel • Counseling Staff / EAP Support • Perception of safety • Security demands • IT & phone staff • Faculty support© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  13. 13. Challenges: MEDIA • Logistics of managing local and national news crews (competing interests) • Media biases • Press conference schedule - “Feed the Beast” • Website and server challenges (managing constant media calls) • Family’s privacy vs. Media access© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  14. 14. Interviews • “Talk Shows” vs. “News”: What to consider before appearing on Greta, Nancy, Geraldo or Bill • Prevalence of misinformation • Impact of national television re: leads and tips • Coordinating family statements© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  15. 15. Communications • Are you communicating appropriately? • Are you saying the “right” things? • Victim-blaming • Message box should include - Compassion - Sensitivity - Caring© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  16. 16. Legal Issues: Communications• Potential Liability Issues (tragedies on campus/ connected with institutions) - Anything you say can and will be used against you! - Have counsel work with public relations on statements• FERPA Issues - Rights of student victims - Rights of roommates, other connected students© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  17. 17. Collaboration • Media (local and national) • University Departments • City Departments • Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement • Other IHEs • NGOs© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  18. 18. Lessons Learned© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  19. 19. Lessons Learned: Staffing • Counseling Center & Employee Assistance • Staffing Support (student services, public safety, food services, admin) • Policies on school closure • After Action Reviews© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  20. 20. Lessons Learned: Crisis Communication Plan • Website and servers • Media list-serve (eliminated media interruptions) • Voicemail access for community • Media briefing schedule & location • Public safety forums (city and campus) • Who speaks to media and related legal issues© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  21. 21. Lessons Learned: Media Management • Relationship with media (local/national) • Staging area - Away from department - Accessible - As agreeable as is possible • Mitigate conflicts with national talk show programs’ interview schedules • Negotiate to prevent interference with investigation • Support family in media relations© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew
  22. 22. Lessons Learned: Town/Gown Relations • Relationships - Town/Gown - University internal - State/Local/Federal • Campus resources - Dining Services - Print Services - Technology & IT Infrastructure - PIO© Margolis, Healy & Associates, LLC & Dinse Knapp & McAndrew 22
  23. 23. Contact Information Steven J. Healy Dr. Gary Margolis Jeffrey J. Nolan, Esq. Margolis, Healy and Associates Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, P.C. 1-866-817-5817 1-802-864-5751 www.margolis-healy.com jnolan@dinse.comwww.CampusCrimePrevention.org www.dinse.comwww.CampusThreatAssessment.org

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