Articles: Security

11/2013

Securing a large college or university campus—really a city within a city—is a daunting task. Many campus police departments are stretched thin dealing with crimes ranging from burglary to sexual assault, leaving them the resources to act only after a crime as been reported.

10/2013
Flood insurance subsidies for colleges and universities located in federally-designated flood zones ended on Oct. 1

An ocean view may make campus tours scenic, but when it comes to flood insurance, coastal institutions will soon face a deluge of bills. Flood insurance subsidies for colleges and universities located in federally-designated flood zones ended on Oct. 1, when the Biggert Waters Act went into effect.

09/2013

A child is abducted from a local middle school. The abductor flees to a local college campus, where he crashes into another car resulting in the death of two students. He runs into a wooded area with his hostage. A manhunt begins, an employee is shot, and additional people are taken hostage inside an academic building.

08/2013
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a key part of safety systems.  Image courtesy of Siemens.

New York public and private colleges are now required to give every student written information about fire safety in residence halls and off-campus housing. Known as the Kerry Rose Fire Sprinkler Notification Act, it was named after one of three victims of the deadly fire that burned through a privately owned housing unit near the campus of Marist College in January 2012.

07/2013

After the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, emergency response teams at Boston-area colleges had to act fast. Between reaching out to the community and accounting for students and faculty running or attending the race, institutions had much to contend with that day.

As the rest of world gets on with their lives, those of us who call Massachusetts home are reminded daily of why the Bay State has always been Boston Strong. Speaking at a national interfaith service after the Marathon bombings, President Obama remarked, “We may be momentarily knocked off our feet. But we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going.

What will be the future NFC smartphone technology landscape on college and university campuses?

If NFC smartphone dreams come true this year as hoped, for many schools it will simply be a matter of turning the technology up on their existing card readers. Indeed, the use of smartphones enabled by near field communication is happening on some campuses and is a near-term reality for others.

Planning to implement a biometric system on campus? Phil Scarfo, a vice president at Lumidigm, a  New Mexico-based biometric company, recommends the following actions:

Iris Recongition

When it comes to access on college and university campuses, striking a balance has always posed a challenge. On the one hand is the need to limit access to those authorized to have it, whether that means students who have paid for dining services or faculty accessing labs or other facilities. On the other is the desire to make the process as efficient and user-friendly as possible.

10/2012

Situations promoting campus alerts can be disruptive, but also informative. The University at Buffalo’s Joseph Brennan recalls an incident where a student reported seeing a man enter the campus library while carrying what appeared to be a rifle. Immediately upon hearing the report, officials issued an alert using the university’s system from Rave Mobile Safety.

In an era when higher education leaders are more mindful than ever of potential threats to the safety of those living, learning, and working on campus, security planning has reached new levels of complexity. Few would argue that at least some security measures should be highly visible to the campus community.

The search-based filtering techniques used by social media monitoring tools rely on spotting a specific set of keywords, including the name of the school. Since people can make valid threats using words outside that list, monitoring tools could never identify threats comprehensively.

In the wake of the Colorado movie theater shooting and noting the social media clues that appeared beforehand, college and university leaders are taking threats of violence posted to social media very seriously.

Over the last few years, high-profile laboratory incidents at major institutions have made front-page headlines.

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