You are here



Institutions of all sizes are facing increased scrutiny of their student ID systems in light of recent security concerns. At the same time, budgets are tight for many colleges and universities, creating a number of common challenges when it comes to the business processes involved with issuing student IDs and maintaining an ID system.

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.

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.

An Association of American Universities study found that 12 percent of students across 27 universities had experienced sexual assault by force or incapacitation since enrollment, and that 17 percent of seniors had experienced this type of sexual assault while at college. Doctoral candidate and researcher Sara Carrigan Wooten says the report comes as no surprise.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri says the Clery Act, signed into law in 1990, has outlived its usefulness.

Speaking in June to a national conference hosted by Campus Safety magazine, McCaskill said the current law “doesn’t accomplish squat.” If McCaskill gets her wish, Clery would be replaced with a law that requires more effective reporting. “To be honest with you, I am OK removing the Clery Act completely,” she said.

Salisbury University alum Carey Haddock, here in front of Manokin Hall, was once an RA herself. Now she’s the trainer and supervisor for RAs at the school.

Parents and students expect RAs to solve roommate problems and ensure dorms are conducive to study and sleep. But with an amplified national discourse on sexual assault, gun violence and mental illness, today’s resident assistants are on the front lines of a whole host of issues related to safety and overall wellness.

Today's RAs receive enhanced training on a range of issues, from sex assault to homesickness. (Click to enlarge)

Even if an incident doesn’t happen in a residence hall, RAs must know what to expect during a potential crisis on campus, and how to better help their students, says David L. Perry, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Just as campus officials across the nation are engaged in active shooter response training because of tragedies like at Virginia Tech, RAs need to master the proper response procedures, including building lockdowns. They might be the only authority figures in the residence halls during a potential threat.

Karen Bitar is a partner in the litigation department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Allegations of sex abuse, once hidden from public view at universities, are seeing the light of day at record levels. That attention leads to inevitable questions: How can a school conduct the required investigation when a complaint is made, and deal with victim concerns that schools turn a blind eye to their needs?

Aradhana Bela Sood is a senior professor for child mental health policy and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

Aradhana Bela Sood's new book on the Virginia Tech massacre highlights what can be done to better treat people who are struggling emotionally. Sood, a senior professor for child mental health policy at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, says threat assessment and treating students quickly are keys.