David E. Van Zandt, President

September 21, 2011

Good morning.

Last Thursday I was formally installed as the eighth president of The New School. All day I heard from students, faculty, and staff wishing me support to make The New School the very best it can be. I look forward to collaborating with every member of our community to realize this objective.

I was heartened by your response to my message following the back-to-back earthquake and hurricane. Many provided constructive suggestions addressing the university's handling of these unusual emergencies. Based on these comments, we are moving ahead to improve our emergency preparedness in several ways:

  • We will coordinate any emergency responses, including evacuations, with the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management.
  • We are reviewing the university's safety and preparedness plan plan and adding additional procedures, including earthquakes, to the list of possible emergencies and will articulate a clear plan that incorporates your feedback.
  • We will enhance emergency communications with members of the New School community through improvements in New School Alerts and the use of Fire Wardens in all buildings to provide up-to-date information at regular intervals. I encourage you to review your New School Alerts contact information on my.newschool to make sure these messages find you where you want to be reached.
  • We will implement regular emergency response drills for members of the community on a regular basis.

We will shortly post a draft of the revised emergency procedures for your further suggestions. No one wants to face emergencies and no amount of planning can anticipate every situation. But we must be prepared. I am confident that our efforts to improve preparedness where we can will yield a smoother response and create a campus environment where everyone can feel secure.

I appreciate your words of encouragement and look forward to seeing you at the Town Hall meeting on October 26 at noon in Wollman Hall.

With thanks,


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