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Q: The Best Defense? A: A Crisis Management Plan.

Q: The Best Defense? A: A Crisis Management Plan.

Janice M. Abraham, Robb Jones, and Constance Neary share 25 years of research into institutional experience, and some lessons learned:

Remember 1987? Gas was less than a dollar a gallon, telephones had cords, mortgages cost 11 percent a year and CDs paid 7 percent, and the new Apple IIGS computer offered a whopping 256 KB of memory. We wrote letters and memos, not e-mails, texts, posts, or tweets. 

That world doesn't exist anymore. And you can say the same thing about the liability landscape for colleges and universities. In 1987, while celebrating its 25th anniversary, NACUBO convened a task force of committed business officers (and representatives from several other associations) to address a looming crisis on campus—the inability to purchase affordable and appropriate liability insurance coverage. Through the group's wisdom and innovation, United Educators Insurance (UE) came into being.

How many institutions even have a workable crisis response plan?

A crisis response plan is a living document. Remember that developing a crisis response plan is only the beginning, not the endgame. Critical to successful planning and response is to practice, practice, practice. Don't overengineer the plan and underperform the practice. In fact, institutions can break tradition by spending
80 percent of their time practicing the plan and 20 percent developing it, rather than the other way around. The majority of practice sessions should be focused on activating the plan. What types of events will precipitate plan implementation? Who makes the call? Who activates the plan? That first step is a crucial one; make sure there is clarity here.

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Tags: #CrisisMojo, Crisis, DIsaster, Emergency

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