Each year since 2005, colleges and universities across the United States have recognized September as National Campus Safety Awareness Month. Following the ninth anniversary of 9/11, higher education institutions continue to work collaboratively to improve the safety and security of students, faculty, staff and guests on their campuses by sharing information regarding policies and strategies to consistently maintain safe campuses throughout the State.
To further enhance campus safety and security, the New Jersey Presidents’ Council (NJPC) has launched a major initiative, funded in part by a special grant from the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, which will assist the 59 private and public New Jersey colleges and universities in their security and safety preparedness. The project focuses on recommendations that were issued in the 2008 New Jersey Governor's Campus Security Task Force Report following the April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech and evaluates compliance with regulations contained in the Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, as well as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
These guidelines for campus public safety policies and practices will act as a verification tool that New Jersey’s colleges and universities have in place emergency response plans to address potential threats such as:
– Active shooter on campus
– Acts of terrorism
– Bomb threats
– Fire safety
– Utility failures
– Mental health issues
– Emergency communication processes
The project is being coordinated by the Presidents’ Council Campus Safety and Security Committee, whose chairperson, Robert A. Altenkirch, Chairperson of the NJ Presidents Council’s Committee on Campus Safety and Security; and President of NJIT, explained: “The Presidents’ Council anticipates that New Jersey’s colleges and universities will provide annual updates to their emergency response plans reflecting changes in programs, operations and facilities. In addition, the Presidents’ Council will use this process to ensure that colleges and universities are kept informed and develop timely responses to changing security threats and regulatory compliance requirements.”
Supporting the initiative are three New Jersey state agencies: the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Department of Health and Senior Services. Additional participants include two New Jersey professional associations: the College Health and Environmental Safety Society and the College and University Public Safety Association.
Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick, chairperson of the NJPC, said, “We are excited to see this much-needed initiative bear fruit in ways that improve the safety and well being for all who work, visit, and study on our campuses.”
Name: Robert A. Altenkirch, President of NJIT
Email: Robert.Altenkirch@NJIT.edu, Phone 973-596-3101
Richard L. McCormick, Chair
President, Rutgers, The State University of NJ
Susan A. Cole, Vice Chair
President, Montclair State University
Steven M. Rose, Secretary
President, Passaic County Community College
Richard A. Levao, Treasurer
President, Bloomfield College