University Neglects to Explain EEMS Hiatus

When Emory Emergency Medical Service (EEMS) temporarily suspended services this semester to re-train its staff, it disappointingly failed to inform the Emory community about the halt.

With its lack of communication about the delay, EEMS and the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the organization, needlessly allowed rumors to spread about the status of emergency services at Emory. Craig T. Watson, assistant vice president of Public Safety, told the Wheel’s editorial board that various parties, including Residence Life and Housing, had been informed the week of Oct. 9, but the information was not disseminated to the broader community. We commend EEMS for its efforts to re-train its volunteer staff in updated technologies and protocols to improve its services, but the University at least owes the community an explanation of the hiatus.

“We realize it would have been better to better inform the community,” EEMS Director Rachel Barnhard told the Wheel’s editorial board in an Oct. 20 interview. The Wheel’s editorial board also spoke with several students who were concerned by the lack of communication. Barnhard herself told a Wheel reporter that one of the most common responses from community members who discovered the halt was that they “wish [they] would’ve known ahead of time.”

It is essential that all members of the Emory community are provided with updated and accurate information about public safety — especially when it comes to emergency services.  The University must always err on the side of transparency when it comes to programs as indispensable as EEMS. Instead of issuing apologies, public safety leaders should simply rectify their mistake by sending a community-wide email.

“[This is] a lesson learned,” Barnhard told the Wheel’s editorial board Oct. 20.

But as of publication time, 11 days after Barnhard’s interview, a statement has yet to be sent to the Emory community detailing the suspension of EEMS, raising the question of whether any lesson has, in fact, been learned.

The above Editorial represents the consensus opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

The editorial board is composed of Nora Elmubarak, Jennifer Katz, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Isabeth Mendoza, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois and Mathew Sperling.