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Athletics
4/19/2016 12:00 AM

Keeping students, alumni, and all the other spectators safe at big sporting events on campus can seem like a daunting task. But in the years since 9/11, best practices have emerged that will help you keep campus venues safe.

Keeping students, alumni, and all the other spectators safe at big sporting events on campus can seem like a daunting task. But in the years since 9/11, best practices have emerged that will help you keep campus venues safe.

According to Daniel R. Pascale, senior director of security and emergency management services at Margolis Healy, the best overarching strategy for approaching this challenge is:

  1. Conduct a risk assessment.
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Train the plan.
  4. Implement the plan.

For your plan to work well, you need to be collaborative and inclusive, Pascale added.

To conduct your risk assessment, involve officials from across your institution as well as local, state and other governmental officials, Pascale said. Your team should include local police, fire and emergency medical services. It should also include everyone on campus who has a role in sporting events, including staff from athletics, facilities, equipment and IT.

Once you have assessed the risks, start to develop your emergency action plan by deciding who will be in control and what the leadership style will be for game day.

Your plan should include details for both pregame and for game day, Pascale said. The pregame plan might include sweeps of the facility with bomb-sniffing dogs and a system for how and when to inspect vendors.

It should also define the buffer zone around your stadium. That includes determining the acceptable distance for parking. Homeland Security officials can help you make that decision and will walk through your venue with you, Pascale said. In fact, if your institution is in certain states, you have probably had a visit that Homeland Security initiated, he added.

At some institutions, the buffer zone is a challenge. For example, at one institution Pascale has worked with, the back end of the stadium is only 40 feet from a roadway. The town has to close the road on game days, so stadium security impacts the whole town.

You also need to think through a series of questions for managing game day, Pascale said. They include:

  • What traffic control points will be in place around the stadium?
  • When will you close down the stadium before the game and begin controlling access?
  • How do you control access into the stadium?
  • Who will work the stadium gates? Institutions differ on who works at the gates. It could be students, athletic staff, security personnel or police officers, Pascale said.
  • What types of items will be prohibited from the stadium? It’s a good idea to ban bulky coolers and backpacks, Pascale said. And it’s also a good idea to ban outside food and beverages. You don’t know what could be in liquid containers, and they provide a way for chemicals to enter the stadium, he said.
  • How will you communicate, both internally and with partners, on game day? For example, do you have interoperability on radio with your local police?
  • What policies will you have in place regarding tailgating? How far from the stadium must tailgaters be, and what activities will your institution allow?

As part of your plan, Pascale recommended the following best practices:

  • Conduct bag and container checks as spectators enter the stadium. Have staff ask spectators to open their bags so that they can be examined for prohibited items.
  • Pat-downs of suspicious individuals can be effective. And some institutions use handheld or stationary detectors. Anyone who uses the detectors must be trained, Pascale said.
  • Do not allow re-entry to the stadium. “If you leave, you’re out for the day,” Pascale recommended.
  • Stop spectators with items they cannot bring in outside the gate and tell them to take the item back to their car or forfeit it.
  • Advertise the rules about what can be brought into the stadium. Good choices for doing that are through signage, on tickets, in letters that go to season ticket holders, and on your website.
  • Encourage situational awareness. You want spectators to think in terms of “See something, say something,” Pascale said. Options for reporting suspicious individuals or activities could include calling, telling an officer or texting. “No call is a bad call,” Pascale said. It’s always better to investigate than not to, he added.

For more information and ideas, consult the Intercollegiate Athletics Safety and Security Best Practices Guide. The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security brought together experts at the National Intercollegiate Athletics Safety and Security Summit in 2015 to define best practices. The resulting guide provides hundreds of proposed best practices, with information about what issues the best practices address and how to implement them.

Find the guide at http://www.nccpsafety.org/resources/library/intercollegiate-athletics-safety-and-security-best-practices-guide-1.

Crime Prevention
3/18/2016 12:00 AM
If you’re looking for quick and inexpensive ways to boost campus safety, you can easily implement CPTED practices on your campus immediately. 

Even if you don’t have any formal guidelines for crime prevention through environmental design in place on your campus, odds are you’re already implementing several of the strategies to make your campus a safer space. If you’re looking for quick and inexpensive ways to boost campus safety, you can easily implement CPTED practices on your campus immediately. Ed Book, chief of police at Santa Fe College in Florida; Richard Schneider, Ph.D., current adjunct professor and retired full-time professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Florida at Gainesville; and Art Hushen, president of the National Institute of Crime Prevention, shared some tips and best practices for implementing CPTED on your campus, regardless of your current layout and architectural design.

Effective CPTED starts with input and assessments

If you’re not sure where to start with CPTED practices on your campus, Schneider had a very simple solution: ask people on campus. In particular, Schneider emphasized the importance of engaging students in being responsive to which areas of campus they feel are the most unsafe. “Students often have the best idea of problem areas on your campus,” Schneider said, adding that sometimes students have a better idea of this even than campus security officials. Having a game plan based on those particular areas that might most need safety and security on your campus is the key to implementing helpful CPTED practices.

Hushen recommended a similar approach, advising that campus security officers conduct a walk-through on campus with eyes attuned to potential opportunities for illegal activity. “In the case of active shooter [security], when you go through the site and realize that, gosh, if I was here to do something bad no one would see me,” that’s when you can find areas to be better managed through CPTED, Hushen said. Hushen also suggested getting local police officers involved for a campus walk-through, to point out areas that might contribute to longer response times in an emergency.

Schneider also suggested that effective CPTED must be assessed and tweaked on a regular basis based on campus problem areas. Schneider recommended determining the biggest areas of concern on your campus — such as fighting or on-campus drug use — and assessing where those events are most likely to occur. If the problems occur on a consistent basis, Schneider recommended reviewing crime statistics every two to three months, or every six months to a year if incidents are less frequent. “Every campus is going to be different because location is a key factor,” Schneider said, adding that factors such as proximity to the outside community or having late hours where the campus is accessible to community individuals, can affect safety concerns on campus as well.

Minor adjustments with major impact for campus safety

Although Book emphasized that there are advantages to being able to start CPTED work on your campus from the very beginning stages of planning with either an architect or an urban planner, he noted that there are adjustments that can be made for any campus, regardless of whether or not it has been planned with CPTED in mind. For example, Book cited the manicured lawns at Santa Fe College as an easy example of CPTED. “Our campuses look extremely well-maintained, manicured and cared-for. When your campus looks cared-for, that tells an illegitimate user, or someone who may be looking to commit a crime, that someone is watching over the property,” Book said, adding that creating the perception of security is as important to deterring criminal activity on campus as actually having that security in place.

Book also works with facilities managers and staff on his campus to ensure that other environmental factors are well-designed for crime prevention. For example, Book works with facilities to make sure that shrubs and trees are kept at a designated height and visibility so that students, staff and faculty can see either around, over or through on-campus greenery at all times. Maintaining good visibility can help prevent crimes, increase the perception of safety on campus, and create opportunities for crime reporting. Finally, Book suggested working with facilities to create a cared-for campus by making sure there’s no abandoned trash visible, graffiti is dealt with quickly, and crosswalks are always freshly painted so that they provide clear parameters for students and staff to walk across. “CPTED is not just about crime [prevention]; it’s about safety,” Book said.

Create positive spaces to keep surveillance costs low

One cost-effective way to increase campus safety is through placemaking, Hushen said. “[Ask yourself] ‘How can I turn this spot into an activity generator?’” Hushen said, adding that anything that brings more eyes to a particular area increases safety. That can be as simple as adding wall art or a mural to a space that needs increased surveillance. Hushen suggested identifying areas that could develop into potential problem areas and finding ways to add incentives to them for increased traffic — such as repurposing them as Wi-Fi hotspots for students or bringing in vending machines. An added benefit to this solution is that it keeps costs for surveillance cameras low, Hushen added.

Other easy examples of positive placemaking include using lighting and colors to create calming environments for your campus. Hushen suggested using lighting or accent walls to bring more eyes to a certain space, either because the space requires surveillance or to give students a sense of ownership of the space. By creating a focal point, you also deter potential crime perpetrators by creating a sense of watchfulness, Hushen said. Strategic lighting, such as only lighting pathways where you want students, staff or faculty to travel, can add to overall safety by guiding your campus population to properly use your landscape and avoid more dangerous routes on campus. Finally, pathfinding can be used for emergency management on campus as well, either by providing lighting or by installing tile either on walls or on the ground to guide people to exit pathways.

Parking lot safety — engage students in ownership

Parking lots are constantly mentioned for safety concerns in student and security officer surveys, Schneider said. Parking lots are problematic because they’re often not well-patrolled or well-controlled, and they’re often spots where visitors to campus are more commonly mixed in with students, faculty or staff, he added. “Often what we see [in parking lots] are domestic issues between relatives and staff or faculty rather than issues between students,” Schneider said. Schneider suggested the following areas for improvement or examination to make parking lots more secure on your campus:

  • Ensure appropriate lighting after dark. Good lighting in parking lots deters crime, increases the perception of safety, and cues students and staff to be more aware of potential dangers.
  • Assign parking spots. Giving students, faculty and staff more ownership over specific spaces could lead to less wrongdoing since your population will feel a vested interest in the space, Schneider suggested. He recommended allowing assigned spaces to be decorated, either with chalk or paint, to impart a greater sense of defined territory as well.
  • Clear obstacles to visibility. Schneider suggested that one of the key problems with parking lot safety is the lack of oversight or visibility. If your campus has a parking lot that should or could be visible from other areas of campus — offices or student spaces — Schneider recommended taking steps to ensure direct surveillance of the parking lot is possible. This can include clearing posters or designs from windows that might overlook parking lots or designing student spaces so that they can overlook parking lots and provide a form of passive surveillance.

Resources for CPTED training

You can find additional information about CPTED training and strategies at:

Threat Assessment
2/19/2016 12:00 AM

Since the mass shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, campus safety officials across the country have given a lot of thought to preventing similar tragedies. The Virginia Tech shooter had clear mental health issues.

Since the mass shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, campus safety officials across the country have given a lot of thought to preventing similar tragedies. The Virginia Tech shooter had clear mental health issues. Officials missed the warning signs because people on campus weren’t talking to each other, said Cheryl Newman-Tarwater, captain of the Community College Bureau for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Her unit provides public safety services for the Los Angeles Community College District.

The bureau created two School Threat Assessment Response Teams in September 2015 to enable officials from public safety, public health and the colleges to identify students who might need support for mental health issues and to provide that support in a comprehensive and ongoing way. With an average daily population of 150,000 at the LACCD campuses, an incident sparked by an untreated mental health problem is likely to happen. “It’s not a matter of if but when,” Newman-Tarwater said. “The bottom line is that mental health is often at the center of things that happen that are bad,” she added. But having a mental illness doesn’t mean that a student shouldn’t be successful, she said. The START teams work with students to ensure they are getting the services that will help them manage their mental health issues so that they can be successful.

The two START teams each include a deputy from the bureau and a mental health professional from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

The north team is based at one of the four colleges it serves, and the south team is based at one of the five colleges in its area.

The START program was launched in 2008 as a partnership between the Department of Mental Health and the Los Angeles Police Department, said Maria Luz Martinez, the mental health clinical supervisor for START who works for the Department of Mental Health. It was later expanded to be a countywide program serving students at both the K–12 and college levels. Before last September, LACCD officials could contact Martinez if they had had a concern about a student, but the colleges did not have START teams dedicated to serving their students.

In their first four months, the Community College Bureau’s two START teams had handled 72 referrals and completed 32 mental health threat assessments.

Referrals came from many sources, Newman-Tarwater said. The most common source has been the campus deans of discipline. But any member of the community can make a report if a student is behaving in a disturbing way. Some referrals have been initiated after a student made a disturbing post on social media.

Once a START team receives a referral, the mental health counselor will work to engage the student to find out more about what is going on. The first contact is made in a nonthreatening way, Martinez said. The counselor assures the student that the goal is for him to graduate and go on with his life. “We’re here to help you succeed” is the message team members convey.

START team members obtain written consent from the students so that they can communicate with the students’ parents and with faculty members at the community college.

Team members conduct a psychiatric assessment and a threat assessment. They evaluate the student’s environment, including conducting home visits, and they learn if the student has a history of mental health issues. The deputy checks to see if the student has a criminal record.

START team members make appointments at a mental health clinic for students if that is appropriate and make sure the students get to the appointments. They even transport students if necessary. Many students are already in the mental health system, but the services they are getting might not be as extensive as they need, Martinez said. And the START teams provide intensive case management that includes making sure students continue the treatment they need.

And the START teams never close cases. A student with a mental health problem could be stable one day and have her problem resurface another day, Martinez said.

Since launching the START teams for the community college district, Newman-Tarwater, Martinez, and the START team members have made multiple presentations on campus to make the communities aware that START is available and ensure students, faculty and staff know how to access it.

Since START is a countywide program, many others in the community also know about it and can share helpful information when necessary. For example, staff members at psychiatric hospitals know to communicate with community college officials if a patient on a 72-hour hold discloses any information related to a college. Plus, officials at community colleges in the county that are not part of LACCD and at universities in the county are trained. That’s important because students often enroll in multiple colleges, Martinez said.

And parents of students in the K–12 schools receive training. They learn what to look for and what to report, so they can be helpful.

The START program also works with psychiatrists and therapists to help them understand threat assessment, Martinez said. Some mental health care professionals aren’t familiar with threat assessment and how they can help, so officials provide that information.

Connect with students to support mental health initiative

Newman-Tarwater chose deputies to join the START teams who have a passion for mental health and who strongly support a community-based policing philosophy. “If folks don’t feel comfortable with us, they won’t make referrals,” she said.

Many students know they have a mental health problem, but they don’t know where to go to get help, Martinez said.

Since the deputy and clinician on the START team are based on campus, they are able to educate students about how to seek help and to build relationships that make it easier for students to come to them.

Collaborate to address mental health problems

A program like START requires the academic community, law enforcement and mental health to work together, Martinez said. If you want to create a similar program, collaboration between those three groups is essential.

And the organizations must commit to the program with funding. For the START program at the LASD Community College Bureau, the bureau provides two full-time deputies, and the Department of Mental Health provides two health care professionals. And college officials must participate by hosting presentations to make the community aware of the program and by encouraging referrals to the START teams.

Leaders & Innovators: Jesse Cashman, assistant VP, safety & risk management, St. Cloud State University
4/15/2015 12:00 AM

Jesse Cashman arrived at St. Cloud State University almost right out of college as a part-time campus safety officer. He had been working as an investigator for the state’s Department of Corrections and wanted a second gig to supplement his income, when he suddenly lost his job with the DOC due to cutbacks. He was offered a position as a corrections officer, but that didn’t appeal to him, so he turned it down. It was the best thing that could have happened.

Jesse CashmanJesse Cashman arrived at St. Cloud State University almost right out of college as a part-time campus safety officer. He had been working as an investigator for the state’s Department of Corrections and wanted a second gig to supplement his income, when he suddenly lost his job with the DOC due to cutbacks. He was offered a position as a corrections officer, but that didn’t appeal to him, so he turned it down. It was the best thing that could have happened.

As he worked on his master’s degree in police administration at the University of St. Thomas, his job at St. Cloud turned into full-time employment. He went to class during the day and worked in the evenings, working his way up the ranks at St. Cloud to the very top before leaving to accept a position at another institution as director of safety and security. He was in that role for eight years.

Meanwhile, he finished his master’s degree and began teaching sociology and law enforcement. After moving yet again to another college, where he served as the director of public safety and risk management, St. Cloud began calling to him again. Last summer, he returned to the institution where he first fell in love with campus safety, this time as the assistant vice president of safety and risk management.

Having now been in several campus safety leadership positions, he knows just what it takes to succeed.

“I learned some hard lessons along the way,” he said. “One of those is that you really have to listen and gather the perspectives and concerns of your major stakeholders first and foremost.”

That’s why the minute he stepped back onto the St. Cloud campus, he set to work meeting with key stakeholders, both within and outside the campus community, to hear what they had to say.

“This is a large institution. It takes up about a third of St. Cloud. So the city has a vested interest in how successful we are and in the safety of our students,” he said.

Cashman has worked hard to cultivate relationships with local law enforcement. There’s a mutual aid agreement between that department and his unit, which he has recently worked to wring more benefit out of. For instance, he employed three officers from the local police department to work on campus and in the immediately surrounding neighborhoods. Those officers’ job is to investigate and work to prevent violent crimes.

“It’s a way for us to provide value back to the city,” he explained.

Clearly, Cashman is a big believer in collaboration. At his previous institution, he launched a security collaborative that involved a neighborhood near the campus, area businesses, the police department, a hospital and other institutions. They met each month to discuss safety topics and stay on top of what was going on both on campus and nearby in the surrounding community. He’s now emulating that model at St. Cloud.

He recently launched a citywide collaborative involving the local police department, mayor’s office, neighborhood groups and local residents, a nearby technical college, and internal stakeholders such as students and residence life. They meet monthly to discuss safety issues and big upcoming events.

Another monthly meeting that he initiated involves internal security and police officers, as well as other campus stakeholders. They discuss what’s going on at the institution and how to better serve campus constituents. In addition to ensuring everyone knows what his department does, he’s also brainstorming with administrators across campus about how his department can better help them carry out their mission and goal of educating students.

“That’s how you ensure you’re not always just reacting after things happen,” he said. “Law enforcement is so much about communication; not just about enforcing the law, but also about communicating the law, creating an understanding of it, and making sure that the people you serve understand your mission, vision and goals. You have to meet people on the positive end of things, not just on the enforcement end.”

For more information, you may contact Jesse Cashman at jmcashman@stcloudstate.edu.

Leaders & Innovators: Kevin C. Whitlock, director of public safety, St. Cloud State University
3/12/2015 12:00 AM
Kevin C. Whitlock
Kevin C. Whitlock
After working for a park district for more than two decades, Kevin C. Whitlock decided to move into the higher education setting and accepted a position as director of public safety at St. Cloud State University.

“I did a lot of research on the position and the profession and found a lot of similarities between higher education campus safety and what I had been doing in the park district,” he said.

Kevin C. WhitlockAfter working for a park district for more than two decades, Kevin C. Whitlock decided to move into the higher education setting and accepted a position as director of public safety at St. Cloud State University.

“I did a lot of research on the position and the profession and found a lot of similarities between higher education campus safety and what I had been doing in the park district,” he said.

He began his new position on Aug. 18 — just before the start of the new fall semester. That didn’t give him much time to get acquainted with the campus, his new role and his staff. Despite that, Whitlock didn’t miss a single beat.

He carved out time to meet with key campus leaders and members of his department to find out the institution’s main safety needs and concerns. That helped the unit continue to operate smoothly and provide the level of service everyone was used to through the transition.

“At the start of the fall semester, there’s a whole lot that goes on at any institution. On top of that, we had to get our Clery reporting out of the way,” he said. “It was a bit of a whirlwind, but I thought it was imperative that I make time to connect with everyone early on so we could ensure the needs of our customers were properly met.”

Once that initial rush of activity began to subside, Whitlock promptly started looking ahead. Specifically, he sought ways to improve relationships between the campus community and the local community.

Top campus leaders had told him early on that they wanted to improve town-gown relationships. Like many institutions, the campus is surrounded by residential neighborhoods where many local residents who are not affiliated with the university live. So when students get rowdy, local residents tend to complain.

He began reaching out to local residents to learn their specific concerns and how they would like to see those concerns addressed. He also reached out to the local police department to find out how they could work more closely together to address safety issues in the areas immediately surrounding the campus.

In addition, some local youngsters were coming on campus, vandalizing property, and generally creating havoc that the university’s public safety department then had to spend time responding to.

“It turned out that what a lot of these youths wanted was access to campus, our facilities and events,” he said. “So we worked to find ways to meet those needs and make them see the university as an asset and partner.”

That’s where his former career in park service law enforcement came in handy. Whitlock has experience establishing outreach programs to bring members of the community together. For example, he established an internship program for black girls that focused on generating interest in law enforcement careers. He also partnered with a local school to facilitate educational events. And he ran a “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs” campaign aimed at youngsters in the neighborhoods surrounding the parks in his district.

“Here at the university, we have a number of programs, such as those focused on curbing alcohol use, that could easily be extended to also serve younger students in the surrounding neighborhoods,” he said.

That’s the sort of thing that comes naturally to Whitlock. He considers himself a product of the Minneapolis park system and its myriad programs. As an adult, he volunteered as a youth coach so he could give back. It’s why he chose to go into park law enforcement.

Now, as a key player in improving town-gown relationships, that personal philosophy of giving back to the community will help him ensure that rather than having local residents resent the institution, they will come to appreciate everything it has to offer them.

For more information, you may contact Kevin C. Whitlock at kcwhitlock@stcloudstate.edu.

Leaders & Innovators: Matthew Carmichael, chief of police, University of California, Davis
2/10/2015 12:00 AM

Becoming a police chief was never part of Matthew Carmichael’s plan. When he was asked to step into the role after the infamous 2011 pepper spraying incident that catapulted the University of California, Davis, into the spotlight led to his former boss being placed on administrative leave and then terminated, he said “no.” But university officials were persistent.

Carmichael served in the chief role on an interim basis until last spring, when, following a national search, officials decided he was the best person for the position and dropped “interim” from his title.

Becoming a police chief was never part of Matthew Carmichael’s plan. When he was asked to step into the role after the infamous 2011 pepper-spray incident that catapulted the University of California, Davis, into the spotlight led to his former boss being placed on administrative leave and then terminated, he said “no.” But university officials were persistent.

Carmichael served in the chief role on an interim basis until last spring, when, following a national search, officials decided he was the best person for the position and dropped “interim” from his title.

And although this former municipal police detective never expected to find himself leading his beloved department, it’s difficult to imagine that anyone else could have accomplished what he has.

With the media still swarming the campus, Carmichael quickly rolled up his sleeves and set to work on damage control.

“As a department, we do a lot of great things, but like any other department, we make some mistakes too,” Carmichael said. “The way forward was to acknowledge our mistakes and then work together with our community to move forward from there.”

While the media portrayed a police department and campus community at odds with each other, Carmichael worked to bridge the divide and dispel the “us-versus-them” perception by listening to students, faculty and staff, and inviting them to help him transform the department into one they could be proud of.

“Look, we know how to investigate crimes and catch the bad guys, but that’s 20 percent of the job,” he said. “That other 80 percent requires learning what the community wants from us and providing it, and that means listening.”

He invited students, faculty and staff members to share their concerns, questions and ideas. He also listened to recommendations from the various groups who reviewed the pepper-spray incident and audited the department. For example, a report by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso criticized the unit’s policies and procedures as being out-of-date.

Carmichael turned to Lexipol, a consulting company that specializes in law enforcement risk management and policies and procedure development. Once Lexipol had developed new policies and procedures for the department that reflected current best practices and changes in the law, Carmichael turned to his officers and members of the campus community at large to review them. Those meetings — many of which lasted late into the night — led to numerous revisions.

“It was an opportunity for us to collaborate with those we serve and develop policies and procedures that reflect and represent the campus community,” he said.

Carmichael also created a Student Advisory Council, which includes student leaders and others interested in campus safety issues. He meets with the council once a month. Carmichael’s role is simply to listen to students, who may bring complaints, concerns, ideas and questions. Once those meetings are over, Carmichael makes sure that what was discussed isn’t simply forgotten.

“Some brilliant ideas have come out of those meetings,” he said. “But it also creates a sense of connectedness between my department and the community.”

He has also found a way to involve members of the campus community in the hiring process for his unit. In the past, the department’s hiring panel incorporated members of the campus community at large, but about 80 percent of the panel was composed of members of his unit, Carmichael explained. Now, the panel is 80 percent campus community — including students, faculty and staff from other departments — and 20 percent campus safety staff.

“That way gives the community an honest voice in the department,” he said.

In addition, Carmichael created a cadet program for UC Davis students who are interested in law enforcement careers. The program is now in its third year and has led to various cadets receiving sponsorship from the department to enroll in the police academy. Several of those students now work for the department.

“In 10 years, if we keep this up, this department will look very different,” he said. “We’re essentially building the department from our own community.”

Carmichael is happy to share the details of the program with anyone wishing to start a cadet program on their campus. In fact, he’ll not only invite you to audit his program, but will also go to other campuses to advise them on how to do so, he said.

For more information, you may contact Matthew Carmichael at mecarmichael@ucdavis.edu.

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    Joan Hope became editor of Campus Security Report in 2014. She brings years of experience in higher education and journalism to her work.

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