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KC Wednesday: Planning for Campus Safety Week

by on July 27, 2012

This week’s “KC Wednesday” post comes from the Campus Safety Knowledge Community and is written by James Nawoichyk, Director Campus Safety and Security at St. Thomas Aquinas Colleg in Sparkill NY.

The Fall Semester and the start of school are right around the corner. Hopefully you had an enjoyable summer. As we return to our offices and classrooms it is important to remember that campus safety should be an important part of our daily activities. September has been designated as National Campus Safety Awareness Month.  NCSAM received the unanimous support of Congress in 2008. Each September, the Clery Center for Security On Campus partners with colleges, universities, and other agencies to offer campus safety programming – National Campus Safety Awareness Month.

Ok –that is great, my campus police or security department can host a couple of events and we will be set.  That is only part of the picture. Campus safety requires active participation from everyone. Do you know the name of the head of your campus police or security department? Do you know the emergency and non-emergency numbers to the police/security department? Do you know where you can find your college’s safety & fire policies and statistics? Thanks to the Clery Act the answers are simple.

As a result of the horrible murder of 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman Jeanne Ann Clery who was raped and murdered while asleep in her residence hall room on April 5, 1986. Jeanne’s parents, Connie and Howard, discovered that students hadn’t been told about 38 violent crimes on the Lehigh campus in the three years before her murder. They joined with other campus crime victims and persuaded Congress to enact this law, which was originally known as the “Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990”. (The Jeanne Clery Act Story)

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) is a federal mandate requiring all institutions of higher education (IHEs) that participate in the federal student financial aid program to disclose information about crime on their campuses and in the surrounding communities. The Clery Act affects virtually all public and private IHEs and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Campuses that fail to comply with the act can be penalized with large fines and may be suspended from participating in the federal financial aid program. (The Clery Act)

One of the key mandates of the Clery Act is that colleges and universities publish an annual security report containing safety- and security-related policy statements and crime statistics and distribute it to all current students and employees. Schools also must inform prospective students and employees about the availability of the report. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires colleges and universities that maintain on-campus housing must publish an annual fire safety report that gives students, parents and the public current information about fires in on-campus housing. Colleges are also required to maintain a fire log that captures specific information about fires that occur in on-campus housing. These two reports may be combined as long as the title clearly states it is the Annual Security and Annual Fire Safety Reports. See if you can find the Annual Security and Annual Fire Reports on your campus.

What can I do to help my campus safer?

See something… Say something. This is more than a publicity slogan. You can be the eyes and ears of your campus safety department. During your daily endeavors you travel around your campus and speak with students, staff and faculty. If something doesn’t look right, sound right or feel right contact campus safety.  Believe your gut reaction.  It is much better for campus safety officials to come and find that there is nothing wrong than for a crime to occur. Sometimes crimes can be prevented and offenders can be caught in the act because of quick-thinking community members just like you.

  • Host a lunch and learn with a campus safety officer. Topics can range from office safety, emergency preparedness, work place violence to disruptive students.
  • Collaborate with campus safety to host a guest lecturer about a current security issue or law enforcement/security careers for students and staff.
  • Launch an information campaign to students, faculty and staff about personal safety, safety resources, and how to identify and address difficult or troubled students. You can conduct an academic collaboration with your graphic arts or design students to create an effective campaign.
  • Encourage your clubs or organizations to co-host events with your campus safety department.
  • Be personally ready for an emergency, both at work and home. Visit 3 Days 3 Ways, Disasters Happen Are You Ready? http://makeitthrough.org/ . Visit the American Red Cross Website, http://www.redcross.org/ for additional preparation information.
  • Sign up for local emergency alerts. This includes your college’s emergency notification system. Contact your cell phone provider to sign up for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). WEAs are free wireless notifications that are delivered to your mobile device as part of a new public safety system provided by Authorized Senders. They are designed to inform you of imminent threats to safety or missing persons alerts in your area. Contact your local police department or campus safety department for other suggestions in your area.
  • Remember that No lock works UNLESS YOU LOCK IT!

 

  • Stop by your campus safety department and say hello! The time to meet the staff is not during an emergency or crisis.

RESOURCES

NASPA Campus Safety Knowledge Community http://www.naspa.org/kc/cskc/default.cfm

The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting  is published by the U.S. Department of Education.  This handbook will familiarize you with the requirements of the Clery Act. It can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/handbook.pdf

The Clery Center for Security On Campus is a nonprofit 501 c(3) dedicated to preventing violence, substance abuse and other crimes on college and university campuses across the United States, and to compassionately assist the victims of these crimes. The Clery Center for Security On Campus model for social change is built on the fundamental belief that collaboration among key stakeholders will create safer campus communities. The Clery Center for Security On Campus can be found at https://securityoncampus.org/
Campus Safety Magazine (http://www.campussafetymagazine.com ) Campus Safety (CS) magazine exclusively serves campus police chiefs, security directors, IT personnel, emergency managers and executive administrators involved in the public safety and security of major hospitals, schools and universities in the United States. CS’ free eNewsletters and Web site also serve this target audience, as well as a more general campus audience. To sign-up for eNewsletters follow this link http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/Enews/SignUpAdditional.aspx
“Preventing Violence and Promoting Safety in Higher Education Settings: Overview of a Comprehensive Approach.”  Higher Education Center. http://www.higheredcenter.org/files/product/violence.pdf. This publication was developed to help campuses prevent violence and promote safety. It reviews the scope of campus violence problems, describes the wide array of factors that cause and contribute to violence, outlines a comprehensive approach to reducing violence and promoting safety on campus, and lists specific recommendations that administrators, students, faculty, staff, and community members can follow to review and improve their policies and strengthen their programs and services. The document concludes with vignettes describing initiatives specific campuses have undertaken to reduce violence and promote a safe environment.
References:

National Campus Safety Awareness Month. (n.d.). Security On Campus. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from https://securityoncampus.org/ncsam

The Clery Act | Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention. (n.d.). Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention | Welcome to the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://www.higheredcenter.org/mandates/clery-act

The Jeanne Clery Act Story. (n.d.). Alerting & Unified Mass Emergency Notification Systems for College, University, Higher Education & K-12 Schools. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://www.e2campus.com/jeanne_clery_act_story.htm

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