Safety

College Leaders Call for Stricter Gun Laws

More than 160 presidents sign open letter to U.S. policy makers

In the wake of last week’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., more than 160 college and university presidents are calling for stricter gun laws.

The college presidents signed an open letter to U.S. policy makers that was drafted by the leaders of two Georgia schools, Lawrence M. Schall, president of Oglethorpe University, and Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College.

The letter calls for:

Security: Show and Tell?

Certain security measures should be visible, but for others, it’s better when they’re less obvious or even hidden. Here’s some perspective on which the campus community should spot—and which they’d better not.

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. Just as in society at large (think of the police cruiser parked in the median of a busy highway), the right level of visibility can prevent campus crime or violence.

Can Schools Proactively Monitor Social Media for Threats?

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.

Posting A Threat

Recognizing and responding to threats of violence made via social media

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.

Case in point: Kent State University (Ohio) charged 19-year-old student William Koberna with a felony charge of inducing panic and a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing for tweeting, “I’m shooting up your school ASAP” and threats to the college president. Koberna’s tweets came five days after the Colorado massacre.

A New Era in Lab Safety

Managing risk, creating a culture of safety, and reducing energy costs and climate impact

Over the last few years, high-profile laboratory incidents at major institutions have made front-page headlines. The latest resulting in the death of a graduate student at UCLA, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) decision to pursue criminal charges against both UCLA and the individual principal investigator (PI) in charge of the lab. The UCLA tragedy and another high profile accident at Texas Tech University (which also resulted in casualties) have altered the way OSHA is approaching enforcement in research lab settings.

How to improve and streamline your campus messaging and notifications

Two Oklahoma universities use Rave Campus Messenger from AT&T to reach out and touch students on mobile devices
When it comes to notifying your students, faculty, and staff about important campus issues and events, you can’t rely on just texting or email. Effective notification platforms also use voice recordings, Facebook and Twitter posts, RSS feeds, and digital signage. But how do you implement a single, centralized notification system that offers connectivity and control of all these communication channels?

Limited Liability

With a new focus on risk management and safety efforts rather than just compliance, campus environmental health & safety offices are preventing on-the-job injuries and costly workers’ compensation claims.

For years, Kevin Confetti would perform a metaphoric scratching of the head. Thousands of work-related injuries were reported at the University of California’s 10 campuses and five medical centers, costing the system $25 million annually in workers’ compensation claims. As a workers’ compensation specialist for UC, he was responsible for payments to injured employees while they were off their feet.

Government Safety Center Causing a Stir

The House and Senate have been working to come to an agreement on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012. If passed, the House version of legislation will give the director for the office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) within the Department of Justice the authority to establish a National Center for Campus Public Safety.

Moving Toward Ever Safer Campuses

As in any community, there will always be incidents of crime on campus. While the cause is unknown, in many categories of campus crime, the number of arrests went down between 2007 and 2009. Add unified security systems to the mix, and response to crime can be swifter and the number of victims can potentially be minimized even further.

CASE STUDY: Unified Security at the University of Miami

When Scott G. Burnotes arrived at the University of Miami, he found multiple, separate systems for emergency notifications. A third-party vendor handled texting, emailing, and phone calls; sirens had been set up around campus; and some web-based notifications were utilized.

“Their focus was on continuing to build a multimodal method of communication for all types of emergencies,” recalls Burnotes, Miami’s director of emergency management.

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