Response

In the event that violence cannot be prevented and you find yourself in a threatening situation, the university recommends taking the following actions:

Active Shooter:

Get Out: If a person appears willing to use a firearm on campus, adjacent to campus, or enters a university building with a firearm:

  1. Exit the building immediately, if possible.
  2. Notify others to exit the building and find shelter outdoors
  3. Call 9-1-1 and relay the following information:
    • Your name and location
    • Location of the incident and number of shooters
    • Identity and description of the shooter(s)
    • Type of firearm(s) used
    • Number and location of victims and their injuries

Hide Out: If you can’t safely exit the building, or the shooter is nearby:

  1. Proceed to the nearest room, and close and lock the door, if possible.
  2. If you cannot lock the door:
  • Block the door with furniture or equipment.
  • Take cover behind equipment or furnishings.
  1. Turn off the lights.
  2. Cover door windows.
  3. Remain quiet and act as if the room is empty, play dead if necessary. Make sure that cell phones are put on silent or vibrate.
  4. Follow instructions of law enforcement personnel. Keep your hands visible and raised. Avoid pointing and gestures which may be mistaken for holding or firing a weapon

Take Out: In the event that you are confronted by an individual with a weapon and as a last resort, defend yourself and others by whatever means necessary and do not relent until the aggressor is incapacitated or law enforcement arrives.

Potentially Violent Individual: The following actions should be taken when confronted by an aggressive or potentially violent person and you are unable to safely remove yourself from the situation:

  • Remain calm and make eye contact.
  • Stop what you are doing and give the person your full attention.
  • Ask others to remove themselves from the area if possible.
  • Speak in a calm voice and create a relaxed sympathetic environment.
  • Attempt to build trust, be open and honest.
  • Let the person speak and listen attentively.
  • Ask for specific examples of what the person is saying.
  • Continue to ask questions that will provide the person with an opportunity to share their grievances.
  • Avoid challenging body language such as placing your hands on your hips, moving toward the person, or staring directly at them. If seated, remain in your chair and do not turn your back on the individual.
  • Describe the consequences of any violent behavior.
  • Do not physically touch an outraged person, or try to force them to leave.
  • Move away from any object that could be used as a weapon.
  • Calmly ask the person to place any weapons in a neutral location while you continue to talk to them.
  • Never attempt to disarm or accept a weapon from a violent person.

Victims of Campus Violence: If you are a victim of workplace violence, seek prompt medical treatment and consider counseling whenever an assault takes place, regardless of its severity. George Mason University provides internal and external services that can help you recover from, understand, or manage your experience. The following offices can provide additional information or services upon request:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): (703) 993-2380
  • Human Resources Office: (703) 993-2600
  • University Life: (703) 993-2884
  • University Police: (703) 993-2810

Additional Resources:  Additional training and resources are available to assist the university community in preventing and responding to potentially violent persons. Please visit the Trainings or Resources page for more information.