Letter to the Editor

Are colleges as safe as they should be?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

To the editor:

Today's one-year anniversary of the deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Tech serves as a timely reminder for Indiana high school students and parents to ask tough "campus safety" questions when making spring and summer selection visits to college campuses.

It was one year the ruthless string of attacks at Virginia Tech left 32 students, faculty and staff dead and 30 others physically injured. Sadly, 2007 would go on to be the deadliest year on record for America's colleges and universities.

Since then, administrators, security and mental health directors -- including those at Indiana's public and private campuses -- have conducted comprehensive review of campus prevention, policing and mental health policies.

To the credit of our state's colleges, Hoosiers have not witnessed similar widespread tragedies on our campuses -- not because of luck, but because of lessons learned.

A new nationwide report expected to be issued next month by the Midwest Higher Education Compact will show that within the last year where campus security lapses were identified, efforts have been redoubled at nine of every 10 campuses. In response to last April's Virginia Tech shootings, campuses have established high-tech emergency notification systems, improved building security and monitoring systems, and reviewed and updated procedures and policies regarding mental health and student discipline.

As parents and high school students visit potential colleges and universities, our organization encourages them to inquire how each campus works to prevent, prepare for and respond to such potential tragedies.

These are important peace-of-mind questions for which every student and parent deserves thoughtful and thorough answers.

Scott Minier,

Executive Director

Indiana Crime Prevention Coalition