Will Your Teen Be Safe on Campus?

Will Your Teen Be Safe on Campus?


Virginia Tech & Custom College VisitsIn the five years since the Virginia Tech shootings, most colleges and universities have implemented notification solutions to alert and inform students and the campus community regarding in-progress or impending crises or natural disasters. Some institutions have acquired or built very sophisticated, multi-path (siren, Facebook, text messaging, phone, email), redundant solutions and mandate that all students contact information be in their database. Campus officials might also conduct yearly drills to test the effectiveness of the systems and procedures. Other institutions have voluntary opt-in (student choice) solutions that might include barebones text messaging and/or campus message boards.

Today, the Clery Act (named for Jeanne Clery who was killed in her residence hall in 1986) requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. Although most students never experience this level of crime during their years at school, we would like to suggest that students and their parents review campus safety web pages prior to a campus visit. This might spark additional questions to ask while visiting the campus. We also suggest that you spend the time to dig into a schools campus safety statistics. When on campus, ask questions about the schools alert notification system and on-campus emergency healthcare procedures. During your visit, travel outside the actual campus to understand what your teen might encounter when leaving the immediate campus.

Along with academics, facilities, dining and housing, you and your teen should be comfortable with the colleges safety record and their emergency response procedures.

1 Comment
  • acaine
    Posted at 06:42h, 05 April Reply

    Back in early March, Janice asked me to help write this blog post on campus safety.

    Some of you who know me know that I spent 2 + years selling emergency notification solutions to colleges worldwide. When I read of the tragedy at Oikos University in Oakland, California and heard from the Oakland Police Chief that he did not believe the small college had an emergency notification solution (ENS) it literally brought tears to my eyes.

    If you have a child, niece, nephew or grandchild away at college, or even down the block at a local college or community college, do you know if the college has an alert solution? Do you know if your student is signed up to receive alerts?

    As my friend Fred Miller who is Director of Campus Safety at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks California will tell you: “Campus Safety and Emergency notification is a team effort between his team, students, administrators, vendors, and local law enforcement.” Fred will also tell you that he has spent countless hours planning, honing and field-testing his plan. His on-campus drills are full day affairs that once complete are dissected to find what went right and what went wrong. From my experience Fred is the exception to the rule..

    If a campus has an alert solution, in my experience the most a student will receive is a text (if they have opted-in) at the beginning of the semester. In my experience most colleges conduct these beginning semester tests more to test the vendor then to get student participation.

    Our students are still learning to make their way in the world. We need to respect their independence, but we don’t have to be blind to efforts to keep them safe. I added the post highlighted below to my Facebook wall yesterday. I believe that this important information, if you agree please share with your students, friends, colleagues and family.

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