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Early Alert System

Some of the scariest risks on campus remain hidden until the moment that students, teachers, and staff experience them. Until the shooter kills, the funding disappears, or the opposing party files the lawsuit, everything seems fine. Then, the overwhelming grief takes hold or the power to educate diminishes due to lack of resources. That's why, as campus leaders know, action must be taken before the risk occurs.

When most people think of video surveillance, they think of a Big Brother scenario, where their every move is being monitored. And after a campus tragedy, such as the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007, pundits debate whether video surveillance might have prevented the tragedy. But at colleges and universities, these electronic eyes do much more.

We spoke to three security experts to discuss how video surveillance technology has changed to make surveillance far more intelligent and effective. Our panelists are:

The cost to enroll a student is averaging approximately $6,000 and this cost doubles with the replacement of every student lost. Due to the recent financial climate, most states are facing financial cutbacks, making student retention paramount. Top reasons for attrition include school preparedness, financial support, academic progress, dissatisfaction with support services, and social readiness. So how can we keep students on track for graduation?

Very few--if any--components of campus life are as important to the institution as emergency planning. A college's reputation and, more importantly, the public safety and security of its campus community are at stake.

College recruitment is getting ever more competitive, so making sure students stay in school once they're enrolled is a smart move for any university.

Recent events have understandably triggered a flurry of crisis preparedness efforts at colleges and universities across the country. Many of these institutions are today breathing easier now that they have incident response plans the size of phone books resting in drawers or populating intranets. They feel confident that in an emergency they can evacuate parties at risk in a timely organized manner — perhaps.

 
 

Today's campus communities are more connected than ever, but at many colleges and universities the task of immediately notifying everyone about an emergency remains a challenge.