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Case Study: Hostage Situation. CPE Crisis Communication Workshop June 12, 2008. The Situation: On Thursday, March 27, the University of Louisville Police Department received a request from Student Health Services to transport a distraught student to a mental health facility.

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Case Study: Hostage Situation

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

slide2
The Situation:
  • On Thursday, March 27, the University of Louisville Police Department received a request from Student Health Services to transport a distraught student to a mental health facility.
  • At about 8:46 a.m. the officer reported that the student had a weapon and had taken her counselor hostage. This triggered a series of events, including activation of the university’s crisis communication plan.
  • The incident was resolved when the student turned over the gun at 9:17 a.m. – only 31 minutes after the first notice. The story grew more tragic later that morning, when the student’s two children were found murdered in their home.
  • The university continued to communicate with a variety of audiences for the next 48 hours.

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

slide3
The Situation (cont.):
  • Many university officials, including the president, were about to board a plane for the NCAA basketball tournament.
  • After 18 years in the same location, UofL Dispatch was moving its office. Literally working around and out of boxes.

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

slide4
Timeline:

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

slide5
Timeline (cont.):

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

slide6
Timeline (cont.):

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

slide7
Timeline (cont.):

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

slide8
Timeline (cont.):

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

slide9
The Result:
  • Widespread praise for our speed, follow-up
    • Positive media coverage
    • Employees/students
    • Parents and university friends
  • Some criticism from faculty and students
    • Speed
    • Not enough information
  • Quick lesson about our strengths/weaknesses
    • Communication among OCM staff needed work
  • Jump in text messaging sign-ups

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008

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Lessons learned:
  • Plan ahead
    • had been working together for years, but particularly in past 12 months
  • Invest in the proper tools
    • university-wide systems
    • Communications Office
    • laptop, portable printer, wireless internet card
  • Practice
    • We had tested our equipment, speed of messaging, everyone’s roles
  • Establish relationships with Police, IT, Student Life, DEHS, other units
    • If you must move quickly, you have to trust each other to do your jobs

CPE

Crisis Communication Workshop

June 12, 2008