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Articles: Security

First things first. This story is not about the Second Amendment of The United States Constitution, which grants citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Every state recognizes that right and, at the state level, 49 of them include a provision for licensed owners to carry concealed handguns in public. Instead, this story is about the debate over whether that right should extend to carrying firearms onto the country’s colleges and universities.

Sometimes tragedy creates change for the better—a sad reality that is being illustrated on campuses across the country as an increasing number of colleges mandated background screenings for students, particularly those enrolled in health science programs.

Tim Goral

As this issue of University Business was being prepared to go to press, we were all stopped in our tracks as word came, first via social media and then from conventional news sources, that another shooting had taken place at Virginia Tech.

Students camping out at Occupy Duke

The Occupy movement that has swept the nation—and the world—also has a home at many colleges and universities. Long associated with protests, and historically touted as the home of open discourse, American colleges and universities have had a difficult balancing act on their hands: how to promote free speech while maintaining safety on campus.

safety

Faculty and staff at every college and university in the United States like to talk about the real-world, hands-on education it imparts to its students.

At Onondaga Community College, part of the State University of New York system, a select group of students are not only rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty in preparation for future careers, but also saving the school money while making its campus safer.

American colleges and universities are breeding grounds for innovative ideas and open information sharing. Pair that with a large number of systems on a given network and a vulnerable student population with fresh credit and you've got an appealing target for identity thieves.

The look of instructional technology is changing rapidly, as are the roles and strategies of the IT professional. Higher education technology’s legacy was characterized by six key areas: a strong sense of faculty ownership; hidden costs of free systems and networks; content and delivery mechanisms that were not well-differentiated; unstructured innovation; systems that would neither scale nor integrate; and service levels that were little more than “We’ll give it our best”--all with security being a mere afterthought.

The tornadoes that ripped across the South in April devastated everything in their paths. Some institutions had to close their doors before semester’s end.

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.

The campus network is home to thousands of student residents while at the same time hosting key administrative servers containing private personal information. Yet in most universities the network administrators are expected to maintain an "open network environment" that allows free access in and out of the campus.

The federal Dream Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for immigrants who obtained a college degree or had two years of military service, did not include provisions for in-state tuition, but it is still a flash point in the discussion. State legislatures in Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado, and Georgia, among others, have been debating laws allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.

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:

Digital signage has existed on campuses in some form for decades. Originally, it was standard television sets embedded in the wall with a slow crawl of text showing campus news. Now, high-quality flatscreens display live TV, text, and information tickers all at the same time.

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.

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