October 22, 2001
An open letter to the Emory community
In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.,
a number of students, parents and others have raised questions about Emory
Universitys preparedness for emergencies. In particular, these questions
have focused on the Universitys proximity to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and the Universitys plans for evacuation
of the campus, if necessary.
Let me first address the CDC question. Following discussions with the
centers director, Dr. Jeff Koplan, and with those directly charged
with the security of the center, I can report that CDC security has been
heightened since Sept. 11. Even in normal times, security at the CDC is
Moreover, DeKalb County, in which Emory is located, has had for some
time a detailed plan for responding to bioterrorism. It is one of three
such plans in the country funded by the CDC, and provides a model for
coordinating state, federal and county agencies.
Emory, the CDC, and our Clifton Corridor neighbors are working together
to make sure that any plans for emergency response will be well coordinated.
Emory has two satellite campuses a mile away, in opposite directions,
from the main campus. Should the need for evacuation of the main campus
arise, we are working out the details for using those campuseson
Clairmont Road and on Briarcliff Roadas collection points for students
and employees, as well as for any necessary emergency and relief services.
We at Emory are fortunate to have two of the finest hospitals in the
state, with a superb emergency medicine depart-ment and a sophisticated
disaster plan. Emory Hospital, on campus, and Crawford Long Hospital,
downtown, regularly participate in citywide disaster-relief exercisesmuch
like fire drills but bigger and more complicatedwith other hospitals
in the metropolitan area. Our tertiary-care hospitals are well prepared
for disasters and emergencies.
Before Sept. 11, the Office of Public Affairs and the Emory Police Department
had created crisis communications and operational centers from which the
senior administration of the University will work with Emory Police and,
if necessary, state and local authorities to address emergencies. We have
learned in the past month the impossibility of foreseeing every possible
contingency. But I believe the University is even better prepared than
it was last month, and we will continue to plan and prepare in the coming
months. The safety and well-being of the students, faculty and staff of
the University are vitally important to all of us in this community.
William M. Chace