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Safety

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.


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.

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.

The university’s unified security initiative­—which is helping to ensure that information quickly reaches students, faculty, and staff anywhere on campus so that they can take appropriate action—is being implemented by Director of Emergency Management Scott G. Burnotes. His team took advantage of campus fire alarms and their ability to be used to communicate in any type of emergency.

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.

security cameras

Then:

The lecture had run late, and on top of that the sophomore biology major had joined a couple of friends for a cup of coffee afterward to kick around the speaker’s provocative ideas. It was well after midnight when he made it back across campus to his residence hall, where he noticed a side door that was ajar.

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.

coach bus

As winter progresses, harsh weather conditions  make it even more critical for colleges and universities to feel confident that they are transporting students to and from university-related activities as safely as possible. This means insisting that passenger trip organizers identify and select the safest bus companies in the industry to transport their students.

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.

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