Ways Parents, Students Can Research Campus Safety

Prospective students should explore campus safety and crime statistics as they consider colleges….

Georgia (Jun 16, 2014)By 


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Prospective students should explore campus safety and crime statistics as they consider colleges. 



Sexual assaults, school shootings and other forms of on-campus violence are a major part of the national discussion of campus safety. The threat of a stolen laptop isn’t as frightening, but there are many types of crime that can affect college students.

As prospective college students and their families try to choose the right school, researching campus safety can seem daunting, uncomfortable or even impossible.

To thoroughly evaluate a school's safety, prospective students need to research crime statistics, ask current students and campus staff the right questions and explore the programs universities have to protect and assist students, experts say.

[Learn how to stay safe on a college campus.]

Under the law, schools must submit an annual security report, maintain a crime log, share statistics for a variety of crimes that happen on campus and in some off-campus facilities, issue timely campus alerts, maintain a fire log and create policies to handle reports of missing students.

Families should first check the annual security report, which schools must submit by Oct. 1 each year, says Abigail Boyer, assistant executive director of programs at the Clery Center for Security On Campus.

The Department of Education has a site that allows users to research statistics by institution. Families should also be able to find the information through a university’s website.

The Clery Act provides basic rules, but colleges have flexibility in how they implement certain sections, including how they handle campus alerts about safety issues such as a shooter.

For example, the length of time it takes for a student to receive a notification from the campus in an emergency is important but varies by school, says Robert Lang, who heads up security efforts at Kennesaw State University. Lang says that families should also ask about the variety of alerts a school uses beyond text messages and emails. Kennesaw’s alert system includes computer pop-ups that can override classroom lectures, messages that display on digital signs around campus and a siren system.

Lang encourages families to ask schools who handles campus safety measures and how those measures are divided up. Some schools may have departments and programs dedicated to campus security and safety or have university police, while others may work with local police.

Families should also think about where students will spend time when they’re not on campus.

"You need to do some homework too, about not just the campus itself, but the city surrounding it," Lang says.Under a federal law known as the Jeanne Clery Act, brick-and-mortar schools that receive federal student aid are required to share information about crime on and around their campuses. …



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu