The institution takes reasonable steps to provide a healthy, safe, and secure environment for all members of the campus community. (Institutional environment)

Compliance Judgment

 X     In compliance     Partially compliant     Non-compliant


Francis Marion University recognizes the importance of providing a healthy, safe and secure campus environment and invests in programs, policies, personnel, facilities and management structures to implement this objective. Evidence of this appears in the university Catalog, website, and documentation such as the Clery Report and Emergency Preparedness Plan.


Francis Marion University maintains a Student Health Center on campus. The center’s page on the University website identifies its location and hours of operation, services, mission statement, staff qualifications, policies, and procedures [1].

The Francis Marion Student Health Center supports each student’s learning experience through the delivery of services and health education that promotes the health of the student. The mission of the University Student Health Center is to provide accessible and cost-effective quality medical care for all students. There is no charge to see the health care provider [2] and there is a nominal fee for labs, x-rays, nonprescription and prescription medications. A referral made to an off-site medical provider is the responsibility of the student receiving care. Health insurance is not required for students except nursing students and student athletes.

The Francis Marion Student Health Center is a multi-dimensional program consisting of three components: clinical services, health promotion and health education. Clinical services include a board-certified physician, APRN and personal counselors. Specific clinical services include confidential health counseling and advisement, medical evaluation and treatment, screening procedures for conditions such as thyroid disorders, blood pressure, diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases.

Immunizations and Illness

Certain immunizations are required for admission to Francis Marion University. The Student Health Center will help students acquire these immunizations or will give some of them at the clinic. However, the Student Health Center is not intended to meet the needs of serious illnesses or accidents or to be the medical home for the student. Students must fill out an immunization form [3] to confirm their vaccination history or provide written documentation from a medical doctor or health clinic [4]. These records are maintained by the Student Health Center.

Students too ill to attend class should arrange a visit to the Student Health Center during regular Health Center hours. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins will be seen as time allows. If a serious illness occurs on campus after hours, students should contact Campus Police.

Student Involvement

In October 2016, Francis Marion nursing students administered flu shots to students, faculty, and community members at a discounted rate [5]. The event provided students with real-world experience and contributed to promoting a healthy environment.


The Francis Marion Police Department is a full service state law enforcement agency primarily responsible for the day-to-day safety and security of all students, faculty, staff and visitors to the campus . Additionally, emergency phones and call boxes are provided for students as described below. Informal escort services are available upon request, and campus police reviews lighting on campus during nightly patrols. Any notices of non working lights are forwarded to the maintenance team. The Police Department is located on campus grounds as indicated on their Department website [6].

Emergency Preparation

The Campus Police Department takes the lead in developing the University Emergency Preparedness Plan [7]. The Emergency Preparedness Plan provides an outline for the university’s response to a number of natural and manmade disasters as well as other emergency and medical incidents that include campus disturbances and demonstrations, explosions and fires, hurricanes and tornadoes, infectious diseases, and other potential threats.

The department includes 12 full-time sworn law enforcement officers, three full-time dispatchers, and one part-time dispatcher [8]. Student workers assist with clerical duties around the office. The Chief of Police administratively reports to the Vice President for Business Affairs. The department includes an administrative section, investigations section, and a patrol operations section. All sworn officers are state certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and are required to attend Emergency Medical Responder training. Each officer is required to meet the state’s requirements for recertification every three years. The Francis Marion Police Department has a very robust in-service training regime which includes quarterly in-service training days. Several officers are also state certified as instructors in such areas as CPR, firearms, driving, and Tasers [9].

Police Protection

The campus and surrounding community are patrolled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Police patrols include vehicle, bike and foot patrols. Walk-throughs of all academic, administrative and student residential buildings are conducted throughout the day and evening during each patrol shift. The department works with the Florence City Police Department, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, and the State Law Enforcement Division, as these three jurisdictions often overlap and agency personnel attend numerous training events throughout the year [10].

FMU police officers wear uniforms and badges, and are equipped with all industry-standard police gear and protective vests. University officers carry sidearms and have access to rifles and shotguns in their patrol vehicles and the campus police office. Part of the department’s quarterly in-service training includes firearms training. University officers patrol in marked police vehicles equipped with lights and sirens, on specialized police bikes and patrol on foot.

The department communicates internally and externally via an 800 MHZ radio system which also allows communication to surrounding law enforcement, fire and EMS agencies. Each vehicle is equipped with a radio and each officer is assigned a portable radio. Each vehicle is also equipped with a laptop computer which is linked backed to the department’s records management system which allows the patrol officers to access real-time data required for their patrol duties [11].

All officers receive Emergency Medical Responder training [12]. The officers also conduct refresher medical training during each quarterly in-service training session. The Florence County EMS has an ambulance stationed on campus.

Title IX Program

In addition to the work of the Francis Marion Campus Police, the University has established a strong Title IX program to support students’ safety. Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policies & Procedures states that the purpose of the policy is “to [provide] a healthy living, learning, and working community with an atmosphere that emphasizes the dignity and worth of all individuals within that community. Towards that end, the University promotes personal integrity, civility and mutual respect, and an environment that is free of sexual misconduct and discrimination” [13]. Francis Marion has a Title IX coordinator and a Title IX council to ensure the institution complies with federal and university standards [14].

Institutional Review Board

To ensure that research studies performed by students and faculty protect human subjects, Francis Marion has an Institutional Review Board (IRB). As seen on the board’s page on the FMU website, the purpose of the IRB is “[to] supervise the use of human subjects in all research conducted under the auspices of the University” [15]. Before any study begins, it must be first reviewed and approved by the IRB, which acts in compliance with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Resource’s Office for Human Research Protections.


The Francis Marion University campus has more than 300 security cameras, which are monitored and recorded at the police department [16]. In March 2016, the cameras and the locking systems were updated all around campus, and the University added four new emergency sirens to campus and provided additional training for officers [17].

After 11 p.m., most campus gates are closed in order to better secure the campus and still allow legitimate after-hours access. [18].

State of the art technology is used throughout the FMU campus to assist with security and law enforcement operations. An electronic key system is in place on the major doors of campus buildings.  Authorized faculty and staff can check out an electronic key from the Facilities Management Office, which will allow them access to authorized buildings. This system replaces the traditional lock and key system, making it more difficult for unauthorized persons to enter a building using a lost or stolen key [19].

The residence halls as well as certain key buildings on campus have a proximity card access system. Each student living in the Forest Villas and residence halls, has their student ID card which is used as their “proximity card” to access their respective building. This same system is also used in several of the more recently built campus buildings on the main campus as well as those university buildings in downtown Florence. Using this system minimizes unauthorized entry and provides a record of entry for those buildings [20].

Safety and Security Initiatives

Each summer, members of the police department, facilities management, grounds, custodial and building maintenance, housing and residence life, Student Affairs, and student government participate in an annual safety inspection during both day and nighttime hours. This inspection identifies potential safety and security concerns throughout campus. This inspection is conducted early enough in the summer to allow the facilities management personnel time to address these concerns prior to the students returning for the fall semester. The result of a recently inspection identified three areas of the campus in which lighting or traffic control improvements could be made [21].

Several times throughout the year the local Fire Marshal from the Windy Hill Fire Department as well as the state Fire Marshal conduct inspections of buildings on campus. In addition, the housing and residence life staff, in conjunction with the Francis Marion Police Department and the Windy Hill Fire Department, conducts fire drills in the student residential buildings. A fire safety report that outlines the measures taken to provide for fire safety on campus is prepared annually as seen in the Emergency Preparedness Plan [22].

The FMU Police Department prepares the annual Clery Report to comply with the federal Clery Act. The Clery Act is a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics [23]. These statistics are used by the police department to implement strategic crime prevention and educational initiatives throughout the year.

Eight emergency call boxes and telephones are located in elevators in all major buildings with with others located throughout the campus [24]. These call boxes and telephones can be used during an emergency to connect the caller directly to the campus police dispatchers using a radio-like system.

The University has an emergency siren system, which covers the entire campus, and is integrated into the campus’ emergency communications plan. Additionally, the University uses SwampFox Alerts as an e-alert system to notify the campus of any emergency situation [25]. Signing up is optional, but once an individual signs up, he/she is notified through both text and email of any emergencies (and computers if they are hooked up to the university’s network). Both the outside warning system, and the SwampFox Alerts system are activated from the police department. The police department has full authority to immediately activate the emergency warning system and SwampFox Alert if the situation dictates such a response.


  1. FMU Website, Student Health Services
  2. Catalog 2016-2017, Student Health Services, p. 19
  3. FMU Student Immunization Form
  4. Redacted Immunization Information
  5. Patriot News, Nursing Students Administer Flu Shots
  6. FMU Website, Police Department Location Information
  7. Emergency Preparedness Plan
  8. FMU Website, Police Department Staff Information
  9. FMU Website, Department Information, Certified Instructors
  10. FMU Website, Department Information, Collaboration
  11. FMU Website, Department Information, Vehicle Equipment
  12. FMU Website, Medical Emergency
  13. FMU Website, Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policies and Procedures
  14. Patriot News, Title IX Hosts Talk on Consent
  15. FMU Website, Institutional Review Board
  16. FMU Website, Department Information, Security Cameras
  17. Patriot News, Campus Police Installs New Cameras, Deadbolt Locks
  18. FMU Website, Department Information
  19. FMU Website, Crime Prevention
  20. Clery Report, Facility Access, p. 1, 8
  21. Annual Safety Inspection 2016
  22. Clery Report, Fire Safety Practices and Standards, p. 7-8
  23. Patriot News, Looking Deeper into the Clery Act
  24. FMU Website, Crime Prevention
  25. FMU Website, SwampFox Alerts