By: Lauren Dooley
On Thursday, February 19, Ferris State PRSSA welcomed guest speakers Bruce Borkovich, the head of Ferris State Department of Public Safety, and Sandy Gholston, Social Media/News Services Manager at Ferris State University to their meeting. While they presented, here are a few of the questions that they touched on about “Crisis communication.”
- What is the process of telling parents about a crisis that happens at school?
According to Sandy and Bruce, the first thing that happens is that it goes out on ferris.edu, where it is then shared on various social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter.
2) How much time do you have to release a press release after a situation?
It depends on the situation that we are working on. You have to “feed the beast” when it comes to press releases and keeping the media informed. However, you have to make sure you have as much accurate information as possible which might take a little longer.
3) What is the worst crisis you had to deal with on campus?
Bruce- The shooting incident at Venlo was probably the worst. I have only worked for Ferris for about two years, and it was the first big crisis that we had to deal with. Making sure that the subject was apprehended, while keeping students safe was a difficult matter.
4) If its an off campus crisis does Bruce still handle it?
Ferris DPS is always dispatched if there is a threat of any kind to the campus, or students that attend Ferris.
5) Most important things you have learned throughout your career?
The most important things that we have learned in our careers are the ability to admit when you’re wrong and the ability to explain to the press and to the community what is going on within a situation.
6) Is it better to give the minimum necessary information or be honest and expose all that you have?
You have to be honest about all of the information you have. It helps build trust within the community and being upfront with all of the information you have is absolutely necessary.
The most important thing you must know is that you can’t say “no comment” to the media. That doesn’t build trust and they will learn to not trust you as a reliable source for information.
7) What do you believe the term off the record means?
Off the record is a generational saying that has become obsolete nowadays. It doesn’t help, and it doesn’t help build trust with community about their safety with what is going on.