I ask myself, “What would I want if I were a student here?”
Our students and faculty abide by a well-established set of community standards, which are spelled out in the student handbook and frequently discussed in dormitory and advisory-group meetings.
Every rule and expectation exists to ensure safety and a sense of well-being on the NMH campus, and we have zero tolerance for any behavior that could be perceived as a threat.
All dormitories are equipped with a key card security system. Only students, faculty, and staff have key cards to access the dormitories. Male students only have access to male dorms, and female students only have access to female dorms. Students are not permitted to gain entrance into the dorms between the hours of midnight and 6 am or during school vacations. All dormitory rooms are locked by key; each student is issued one key specific to their room. Tampering with a key card, or any security or fire safety measure, is grounds for significant discipline.
We conduct one lockdown drill each year. Three times a year, we conduct fire-safety drills in the dorms and academic classrooms and inspections of all student rooms. These room inspections are performed by local fire officials and associate deans. Students know these inspections will happen, but they are not informed of when they will happen; they understand that they will be subject to disciplinary action should any rule violation be discovered.
To ensure communication during a crisis, NMH has in place a school-wide siren system, as well as a school-wide communication system (Connect-Ed) to alert community members — via text message and/or voicemail — to emergencies that require immediate attention, such as a lockdown or shelter-in-place scenario.
Underlying all of these procedures is NMH’s strong support network that connects every student to adults who know him/her well. Advisors, dorm staff, teachers, coaches — if any one of these adults has a concern about a student, s/he shares it with others in the student’s circle, and involve the deans’ office and/or health center staff if necessary, to establish a wider base of support and provide the appropriate care.