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Articles: Security

American higher education in 2016 faced increased pressure on performance. Colleges and universities were also being pushed to eliminate administrative and academic silos to help students of all ages and backgrounds succeed. Here’s a look back at what made headlines in higher ed this past year and how campuses responded.

A facilities administrator from a suburban institution of 5,000 to 10,000 students says his department faces three challenging realities: increased pressure to reduce operation costs, diminishing resources and a rising deferred maintenance program.

TO SIGN AND PROTECT— At Columbus State Community College, police department specialist Stephanie Murphy (in red) and officer Brian Thomas (in uniform) get a lesson in American Sign Language from instructor Marie Potts,  who is hearing-impaired, as her interpreter looks on.

Stephanie Murphy, a security specialist with the Columbus State Community College police department, realized officers were having trouble communicating with one segment of the Ohio institution’s 26,000 students. 

Campus technology leaders report significant new investment to come this year in the area of academic tech tools such as lecture capture, AV equipment and active classroom initiatives. It’s the third year in a row academic technology led the list of top significant investments in a UB survey. 

Enrollment declines will be the most pressing concern keeping presidents and other top officials up at night in 2017. Seven in 10 who responded to a UB survey named it as the area with the greatest potential for causing the institution financial or reputational harm. State budget cuts, at 44 percent, are the next biggest worry for the 66 responding presidents, provosts and chancellors. 

More than 40 years after it was established, Title IX continues to pose compliance challenges for higher education institutions struggling with sexual assault investigations. Some say the federal government doesn’t provide enough guidance.

The day after her attacker was sentenced to six months in county jail, the woman who was violently sexually assaulted by former Stanford University student Brock Turner provided her victim impact statement to the online site Buzzfeed for publication (http://UBmag.me/bf). That statement, which immediately went viral, should be required reading for every college and university administrator. 

Recent highly publicized cyber attacks have spurred a growing public awareness of the risk that sensitive personal information might be accessed by unauthorized third parties.

Body check: Initiatives at Connecticut College include an annual Green Dot hockey game, now in its fifth year. Facts and materials about sexual assault and bystander intervention get posted around the rink, and the team wears special jerseys. It has been the team’s most attended game of the season.

With headline after tragic headline, and demands from angry constituents and stakeholders to do more, colleges and universities are facing the harsh reality that just complying with the minimum requirements of the Campus SaVE (Sexual Violence Elimination) Act isn’t enough to prevent sexual assault.

Source: Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault, Spring 2015; 150,072 students at 27 institutions participated

With sexual assault, awareness efforts may well lead to higher incident reporting—and even assumptions that initiatives aren’t working. But there are still ways to measure program effectiveness.

It starts with identifying prevention goals, says Jane Stapleton, executive director of practice for the Prevention Innovations Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Health insurance, along with everything from faculty recruitment to information technology, is one of the emerging areas of shared services that regional consortia are now tackling. Their success in saving money and improving efficiencies has fueled a wave of new collaborations.

Pending decisions in Georgia and Tennessee decisions, eight states currently allow concealed carry on college campuses. Twenty-three states leave the decision to each individual college or university, while 16 states and the District of Columbia prohibit concealed handguns on campus.

C. Kevin Synott is a professor in the Department of Business Administration at Eastern Connecticut State University.

How many alcoholic drinks do you think the typical female or male college student consumes each week? Clarifying misperceptions may result in fewer alcohol-related problems on our campuses.

Carine Feyten, the chancellor and president of Texas Woman's University, says security will become a recruitment issue for students and their families.

Carine Feyten

Chancellor and president, Texas Woman's University

Topic: Safety and security

Nearly two-thirds of higher ed readers surveyed expected a major renovation project to be launched or completed in 2016.

Picture it: Faculty no longer get their own offices and libraries have vanished. Dorm rooms come standard with private bathrooms and maid service, and terrazzo tile has replaced carpeting as the new standard flooring across college campuses. Sound ludicrous? Maybe not.

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