PSU Reminder: The Action Steps if Confronted with an Active Assailant

As part of National Preparedness Month, Penn State University Police and Public Safety reminds students, employees and visitors to familiarize themselves with the University’s official Active Attacker Response Program to learn more about how to react when encountering a potentially life-threatening situation anywhere.

Based upon the Run, Hide, FightTM model developed by the City of Houston, Penn State’s Active Attacker Response offers the same three action steps if confronted with an active assailant, making it easy to remember and act upon in an emergency: run if you can, hide if you can’t, and fight as a last resort.

“While it can be difficult to think about the possibility of an active-attacker situation, it is important for everyone to have a plan in mind should they ever find themselves in a life-threatening situation,” said Charlie Noffsinger, assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety.

The University regularly reminds the Penn State community about the Penn State Active Attacker Response and its action steps — run, hide and fight — because emergency preparedness is critical and requires everyone’s attention, according to David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business.

The run, hide, fight concept is endorsed at the local, state and federal levels, including by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

University Police and Public Safety has robust policies and procedures in place for active-attacker situations, and Penn State police officers train regularly for such circumstances; however, it is vital that community members take the time to familiarize themselves with the University’s Active Attacker Response Program because it is designed to provide people with options that may help them survive an attack in the first crucial moments before police arrive on the scene.

Depending on individual circumstances, it is important to note that the run, hide and fight action steps may not always occur in this order, so memorizing them all as possible options, regardless of order, is essential.

Beyond the program’s namesake actions, University Police is providing the following additional guidance to community members on what to do during each step in the process.


— Have an escape route and plan in mind.

— Make sure it is safe to leave the area. Use your eyes and ears to determine if it is safe to run.

— Leave your belongings behind.

— Keep your hands visible.

— Once in a safe place, call 911 and give detailed information about what is happening. Don’t assume someone else has already called the police.

Run Hide Fight 1


— If unable to run from the danger, your second option should be to hide.

— Find a place that’s out of the attacker’s sight and remain quiet.

— Do not huddle together, because it creates an easier target.

— Lock and barricade doors with whatever is available, such as desks, chairs or door wedges. Shut off lights.

Run Hide Fight


— Fighting is a last resort to be used only when your life is in imminent danger. (However, sometimes fighting may be the first and only option.)

— Find an object to use as a weapon, such as a fire extinguisher, backpack, book or chair.

— Attempt to incapacitate the attacker; commit to your actions; work with others to disable the assailant.

Run Hide Fight

University Police and Public Safety routinely offers Active Attacker Response Program training to campus groups, and such training can be requested at

If you are unable to attend a training session, you are encouraged to watch an online training video produced by WPSU and University Police illustrating the run, hide, fight steps in action.

As a warning, the video contains intense depictions of violence. It is designed in a realistic manner to educate the Penn State community on best practices for responding to a violent attack. However, it does not provide comprehensive guidelines for all scenarios and does not guarantee safety.

The video can be accessed at Viewer discretion is advised.

Employees who may find it difficult to review such subject matter can seek support through the Employee Assistance Program. Students at University Park can find support through Counseling and Psychological Services. Students at other Penn State campuses can find support at

In the event of any report of an active shooter or attacker, a rapid response by law enforcement to the scene and communication to the community by email, text, telephone and social media using the University’s PSUAlert system would occur. Initial alert messages would quickly be followed by critical information and regular updates.

All Penn State students, faculty and staff receive PSUAlert messages by email, and anyone can choose to receive messages by text message or phone call as well by visiting At that address, users also can choose to receive alerts for multiple Penn State campuses. In the event of an emergency, PSUAlert will be used to provide the campus community with critical information.

A message from Eric Barron, Penn State President

Dear Penn State community:

Two weeks into the fall semester, I hope you are settling into a routine and those of you new to Penn State are beginning to find that it feels like home.

I have spent most of my career in academia, and I particularly enjoy these first few weeks as we get to know our new students (more than 16,700 this year) and reconnect with our returning students. This is a time that can set the tone for the rest of the year.

Many of you have heard me speak about the importance of inclusion, diversity and creating a welcoming environment at Penn State. I do so often because I truly believe that diversity of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, economic background, geographic place, and all of the ways that we differ bring a range of thought and action that not only strengthens our community, but allows each of us to grow and live in our globally interconnected world.

In that spirit, I write to share some thoughts on our campus community in light of a national climate that has been marred by incidents of hate and intolerance. Penn State increasingly reflects our state, our nation and the world, and we embrace the vision of a just university unified around our common values. We should all contribute, striving to create a place where it is known that everyone belongs here because they earned the right to be at Penn State. Unfortunately, our own community is not immune from the insensitivity, hostility and divisiveness that is all too commonplace today. We can do better.

Fueling this divisiveness are national movements, including those with representation locally, whose sole purpose is to provoke angry responses from those who disagree with their viewpoints in order to generate negative media attention or complaints. Engaging with these groups on their terms only serves to advance their mission of discord. It is in our collective best interest to resist the temptation to respond to vitriol with vitriol.

Engagement instead in civil conversations with a variety of viewpoints will strengthen us as a community. In fact, such engagement is the essence of a university community. Controversial topics, when addressed with civility, can help us grow and learn about the broader world. As Abraham Lincoln once said: “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”

It’s important to recognize the value of inclusion and diversity, and to take that moment to get to know someone better. This incoming class is one of the most diverse in our history. Penn State is now the home away from home for more than 10,000 international students. Our international faculty also have come a long way to share their talents and expertise, and their knowledge of the broader world, with all of us. All are a part of the fabric of our University, all earned their place by their hard work and brainpower, and I am asking you to please do your part — to create a welcoming environment.

During my many years at Penn State (as president, and as a member of the faculty), I have spent time with students, faculty and staff from every walk of life. I have found that our community has an amazing potential for goodness, as well as the courage of our convictions to be a national leader in inclusion and diversity efforts. We recognize that we still have work to do in this area, and we will be implementing the first University-wide climate survey focused on diversity for students and employees to learn how we can continue to improve.

As Penn Staters, we have been interconnected throughout our shared history. As the Nittany Lion football team once stood up to segregation by saying, “We play all or we play none, we are Penn State,” we too need to “play all” and stand up for all Penn Staters.

One in 106 Americans with a college degree is a Penn State graduate, and that number is 1 in 10 among Pennsylvanians. When we stand up for one, we stand up for all with the We Are spirit that has brought Penn Staters together for generations.

That spirit bonds us together as we begin this new academic year.

You are welcome here.

We’re thrilled you chose Penn State. Have a great semester!


Eric Barron
Penn State President

Allied Motion Dance Company returns to the Penn State Altoona Stage

On September 7, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., Allied Motion Dance Company returns to Penn State Altoona for their first full-length concert in a decade. Tickets are $5 for Penn State Altoona students and $7 for general admission. Children under 12 are free.

Penn State Altoona’s Misciagna Family Center for the Performing Arts will host Back at Last! a full evening of modern, jazz, and contemporary dance, with choreography by KT Huckabee, Caitlin Osborne, and Renita Romasco.

Twenty years ago, KT Huckabee arrived in Altoona to launch the dance program at Penn State Altoona. With her, she brought a professional dance troupe, whose mission was to collaborate with performing and visual artists to bring innovative ideas to the stage. For almost 10 years, she staged work with local artists, such as Joe Servello, Jennifer de Coste, Rick Wertz, Timothy Melbinger, and Dick Caram.

This year, the company has relaunched with a new mission: to create community through the power of dance. Already in 2019, the company has participated in workshops and performances at the Central PA Theatre and Dance Fest and has mounted a one-day festival for local students entitled Day of Dance. In this, their first full-length concert since 2008, they will perform repertory pieces and new work. Company members include current students and alumni of Penn State Altoona’s dance program, plus faculty, staff, and invited guests.

The program kicks off with Huckabee’s Ragged, a repertory favorite that adds a twist to a classic tale. In this boy-meets-girl story, the couple are supported—sometimes literally—by the inanimate objects around them. What does the lamppost have to say about love? The answer might surprise you!

Also featured is Caitlin Osborne’s Sister Cycle, first performed in 2010 and substantially reworked for a 2019 premier. In this heartfelt piece, the choreographer explores her relationship with her sister—her first mentor, chief rival, and best friend. Performed by alumni Danielle Johnson and Cassandra Lewis, with a supporting cast drawn from current Altoona students, this dance takes a journey through alienation and reconciliation that will be familiar to all.

Renita Romasco returns to Altoona to stage a new piece for the company, titled Connections. As Allied Motion’s choreographer emerita, Romasco brings decades of experience as a choreographer and teacher to a new generation of dancers. Her new work, dedicated to cross-generational connections, is set on a group of local dancers who participated in an intensive rehearsal period to prepare for the show.

The program has a strong sense of humor. In addition to Ragged, the concert includes Huckabee’s suite of dances to the songs of Patsy Cline. With a sly wink at the pathos of the songs, Huckabee finds a way to laugh even as the dancers express the heartbreak of Patsy. Finally, in Pageant,Osborne uses musical comedy style to spoof a familiar event. In a wordless beauty contest, the dancers still find a way to demonstrate their style, talent, and even participate in the interview portion of the evening!

Tickets may be purchased at the box office, Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and before and during all performances. For further information, call the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts at 814-949-5452.

Writer George Looney to read from his work Nov. 12

Poet and fiction writer George Looney will read from his work on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. in the Titelman Study of the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts. The reading will kick off the Hard Freight Café open mic season.

Looney’s reading will kick off the fall Hard Freight Café, an open mic event presented by Penn State Altoona’s student literary magazine.

Looney is author of 11 books of poetry, most recently What Light Becomes: The Turner Variations, winner of the 2018 Red Mountain Poetry Prize. His novel, Report from a Place of Burning, published in 2018, was co-winner of the Leapfrog Press Fiction Award. His individual works have been published in such journals as The Southern Review, New England Review, The Kenyon Review, Quarterly West, Prairie Schooner, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Ohio Review, Indiana Review, and elsewhere. Looney’s honors include the Larry Levis Editors’ Award in Poetry from The Missouri Review, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two grants from the Ohio Arts Council, and a $10,000 fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. For eight years he served as editor-in-chief ofMid-American Review, for which he is now translation editor. He is editor-in-chief of Lake Effect and chair of the creative writing program at Penn State Behrend, where he is Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing.

The reading and open mic are sponsored by the English program and the Division of Arts and Humanities. Both events are free and open to the public.