Making a Safer Campus
Faculty, staff, and students:
Last month, KU’s Clery Committee delivered its annual report on criminal activity. Crime is down on the Lawrence campus — in fact it’s at a 10-year low — and that is welcome news. Even though crime overall is down, any crime on campus is too much.
Campus safety, especially as it relates to crime, is a deep concern for many of us. We can and must work to strengthen personal and community safety — aspects of college life that many of us take for granted. I’d like to highlight two important ongoing activities that impact campus safety.
Sexual Assault Awareness
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and several events are scheduled to bring issues surrounding sexual assault into the open. Statistics tell us that as many as 1 in 4 college women will be sexually assaulted during their college career. The figure is chilling. It’s on each one of us to make it known that sexual assault will not be tolerated, and to come to the aid of any person who may be threatened by harassment or assault.
The newly formed Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center opened its doors in January. Center Director Jen Brockman has been building awareness across campus through training and education, and making a set of resources available for students, faculty, and staff. You can learn more by visiting the center’s website and following @KU_SAPEC on Twitter.
Beginning in July 2017 the four-year exemption from concealed carry of handguns for the college and university campuses in the state will expire. This will mean that most individuals 21 and over will be permitted to carry concealed handguns on our campuses. I’ve heard many opinions about the law and its impact — some for and many against. Regardless of our personal feelings on the law, we must follow the law, and work to ensure our distinctive campuses are as safe as possible.
In February, Chancellor Gray-Little announced the formation of a university-wide advisory committee to form a weapons policy that applies to all KU campuses. To implement this policy for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses and the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, I’ve assembled an 18-member committee of faculty, staff, students, and administrators. Co-led by Associate Professor of Journalism and University Senate President Mike Williams and Interim Chief of Police Chris Keary, the committee will propose implementation processes for facilities on our campuses. The committee also will draft policies and procedures for security screenings, future requests for facility exemptions, securing weapons, and more.
Many have shared with me their deep concerns over the knowledge that firearms may be brought on campus in a little more than a year. Education will play a major role in ensuring students, faculty, and staff — as well as our guests and visitors — understand how the law applies to our campuses and how we can improve campus and personal safety. We can begin that process today by reviewing the law and the Kansas Board of Regents policy and taking a fresh look at how we interact with and watch out for others on campus.
We can build a stronger, safer KU community. Approach others with civility and respect — especially if you hold a difference of opinion. Look out for the safety and well-being of your fellow students and co-workers. If you see a crime or suspicious activity, report it. Never take the law into your own hands, unless it’s to pick up your cell and call 911.
No one asks to be a victim of crime. By becoming more observant and educating ourselves we can help ensure that the safety of our people and our campuses continues to increase during the next 10 years.
News and Notes
- The first of three candidates for provost and executive vice chancellor will offer a presentation to the Lawrence and Edwards campus from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. today in the Bruckmiller Room of Adams Alumni Center. Other candidates will present from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, April 21, in Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union, and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, April 25, in the Summerfield Room of Adams Alumni Center. People who cannot attend in person can watch presentations through a live stream online. Visit provostsearch.ku.edu for more details and updates.
- Congratulations to KU Debate for an amazing showing at the National Debate Tournament. KU Debate Director Scott Harris, Debate Coach Brett Bricker, and the assistant coaches did a great job of preparing the entire KU Debate squad. Undergraduates Sion Bell and Quaram Robinson earned a second place finish. Mark your calendars for next year when KU will host the NDT.
- Remember to add your office and KU group events to the KU Calendar. As Commencement, year-end celebrations, and other activities approach, the calendar will be an important information resource for all of us as well as our guests. Contact Wendy Bridges In the Office of Event Management and Protocol with any questions or if you need assistance.
- Through the generous support of Chancellor Gray-Little, KU was able to join the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. NCFDD programs are based on a core curriculum of foundational skills critical to academic success that transcend discipline, rank, race, and gender. While these resources can benefit a large number of faculty, graduate students, and post-docs, they also directly address unique challenges that scholars from under-represented groups experience.
- The Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center will host a free screening of “The Hunting Ground” at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 12, in Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union. The award-winning 2015 documentary exposes sexual assault on college campuses and is part of SAPEC’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities.
- Thank you to the dozens of KU IT and Facilities Services staff who literally worked around the clock to restore service to the thousands of KU students, faculty and staff after the recent communications cable break. I also appreciate the gracious disply of patience by so many who’ve come to rely on high-quality IT service.
- Upcoming presentations in the Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series include:
- David Farber, Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of History, will present “The Uneasy State of American Conservatism: A Brief History” at 5:30 p.m. today in the Summerfield Room of the Adams Alumni Center.