November 18, 2019

Dear Spelman Community,

This weekend the Spelman College and Morehouse College glee clubs joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Gwinnett Youth Chorus for a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony.

First performed more than a hundred years ago, Mahler's arrangement is a majestic choral and orchestral expression of redemption and love. Like the piece itself, the performance of our Spelman and Morehouse students and other choral voices was full of ambition and passion for life.

Listening to them made me mourn even more the death of Clark Atlanta University student, Alexis Crawford, a senior who lost her life at the hands of someone she considered a good friend. In a letter to her parents, I wrote that losing a child is painful; losing her to someone she knew well is incomprehensible. Our sympathies as a campus community go out to her family, her friends here in the Atlanta University Center and throughout Atlanta, and to the entire CAU community.

Even as we mourn her death, we continue to work on improving and strengthening safety and security measures here at Spelman and throughout the AUC. I write now to bring you up to date on the steps we continue to take to make Spelman and the surrounding campuses safer.

Under separate cover, Dr. Darryl Holloman, vice president of Student Affairs, will update our community on additional counseling and support provisions on campus for members of our community who were impacted emotionally by recent events.

Recent Safety and Security Developments

  • Representatives from all Atlanta University Center Consortium schools are working to develop a unified emergency response strategy that will be based on seamless, well coordinated emergency communications to the AUC community. Communications to the AUC community through all popular channels including text, email, and social media will likely be delivered through one or more commonly available mobile applications or apps.

  • The comprehensive security analysis, which the AUCC commissioned from the Atlanta Police Foundation, is complete. Presidents from all AUCC campuses and the head of the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library will meet within the next two weeks to review the recommendations and determine the priority and timing for implementation.

  • For the remainder of the semester, the members of the AUCC and the Woodruff Library will put a plan in place to provide around-the-clock security at the library until the end of the final exam period.

  • Spelman Public Safety officers will increase foot and vehicular patrols around campus.

As we continue to provide security and safety upgrades, we urge all members of our community to be mindful of what each one of us can do to enhance our safety and security.

  • Say something if you believe you or a friend might be in a potentially unsafe situation, even in the absence of a direct threat.

  • On campus, be cautious of allowing unknown individuals to enter into residence halls or buildings that require card access, refrain from allowing "piggy backing" of individuals when entering these buildings, and always escort guests.

  • Travel in pairs or groups whenever possible.

  • Make a special effort to increase your alertness of your surroundings at all times, when walking make eye contact with individuals as they approach and remain aware of their actions as they pass you.

  • Have your keys ready when entering your home or vehicle, and lock the doors immediately upon entry.

  • Cell phones can be major distractions when walking and are often the target in pedestrian robberies. Only make phone calls from safe locations and never when walking in parking decks or on city streets.

  • Don’t use headphones or keep the volume low.

  • Never leave anything in open view in your vehicle including clothing, small change, bags, or boxes.

  • Never use ATM machines in secluded locations or after the first signs of dusk.

  • Share your travel plans including anticipated departure and arrival times and routes of travel with friends and family.

  • Do not carry large sums of cash.

  • Do not share PIN numbers with anyone.

  • If you cash a check or make a large withdrawal, separate the cash from your wallet or purse and secure it in a safe location as soon as possible.

  • When shopping, separate the credit card you anticipate using from cash and other credit cards. This will reduce the possibility of being targeted as a potential victim.

  • Service your vehicle before traveling, and always keep your gas tank at least half-full at all times.

  • If your vehicle breaks down when traveling remain in the locked car and call for assistance.

Your alertness has been critical in assisting us in the past and we welcome your partnership as we continue to take steps to strengthen and improve safety not only on campus but in the surrounding community.


Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President, Spelman College

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