Summit reviews campus safety

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By: Benjamin Lammers
Posted: 8/7/07

More than 350 representatives from Ohio's universities met at Ohio State's Fawcett Center last week to discuss school safety and the state of security and disaster response.

Following the shootings at Virginia Tech last spring, Gov. Ted Strickland created a task force to look at the disaster preparedness of Ohio's universities. The task force, composed of representatives from Ohio's schools, has been meeting regularly to review campus safety and advise the governor on campus security.

The Ohio College Campus Safety and Security Summit was a result of the task force's recommendations.

Security experts from a number of schools spoke at the summit, including Col. Steven Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police.

Strickland said in a press release campus security in Ohio is the primary responsibility of the state's schools. He asked how the state of Ohio can assist college campuses to improve security and safety in both public and private universities.

Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut said universal participation, including professors and students, is needed to maintain public safety.

"We have learned that there is no simple cookie-cutter solution that fits all, and that we shouldn't expect that there are any simple, one-size-fits-all, quick fixes when it comes to this issue," he said in a press release.

Ohio's colleges and universities were directed to complete the "Ohio Campus Security Checklist" for the Board of Regents by Aug. 24, which will outline actions each university needs to take during the long haul to improve security. Questions in the checklist include coordination, communication, support mobilization to disasters and protocols for identifying and addressing dangerous behavior by students, faculty and staff.

Todd Stewart, director of the OSU Program for International and Homeland Security, said the purpose of the summit was not to focus only on shooting scenarios and acts of violence, but to include response to natural disasters.

Fingerhut did not limit the discussion to human-caused disasters like the one at Virginia Tech.

"This task force may have been instituted as a reaction to the shootings at Virginia Tech, but this summer we are talking about making sure that Ohio college campuses are ready for all kinds of critical incidents," Fingerhut said.

Rick Amweg, assistant chief of University Police at OSU, said the summit was a great chance to learn from other institutions by discussing common goals for campus security.

Amweg said OSU's security response plan is in good shape.

"We were very prepared before Virginia Tech and continue to be prepared," he said.

However, Amweg said the tragedy at Virginia Tech highlighted the need for new emergency communication procedures. He said the information from the meeting will be used by the Board of Regents to identify the best practices Ohio universities can use to prepare themselves.

Stewart said OSU has made a considerable effort in preparedness.

"Ohio State is in better shape than most schools in the state because we have more resources available," he said.

Benjamin Lammers can be reached at lammers.62@osu.edu.

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.thelantern.com/media/storage/paper333/news/2007/08/07/Campus/Summit.Reviews.Campus.Safety-2929697.shtml>The Lantern - August 7, 2007</a>

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Benjamin Lammers

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The Lantern

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2007-08-14

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Sara Hood

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GERRICK LEWIS <lewis.1030@osu.edu>

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eng

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Benjamin Lammers, "Summit reviews campus safety," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1079, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1079 (accessed November 28, 2014).