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UNC-System Leaders Discuss Campus Safety

Posted May 10, 2007
Updated May 11, 2007

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— Officials with the University of North Carolina system met Thursday to come up with ideas to prevent incidents such as the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech.

UNC-system officials debated whether to provide key card access at all dorms. Before the Virginia Tech shootings, the UNC system recently conducted a test, sending 60 people to dorms at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University. Officials said all 60 were allowed inside the dorms without any identification.

UNC President Erskine Bowles said students need to be educated about not letting strangers inside dorms. James Oblinger, chancellor at N.C. State, said that education is needed to make campuses safer.

"(It's) changing a mindset and changing the culture," he said.

When one member of the UNC system asked about placing locks on educational buildings, Bowles said officials have to be careful balancing safety with the public's right to an open campus.

"That's why we really have to think through each of these issues to make sure we don't just react, but that we do something that makes good common sense," Bowles said.

UNC-system leaders also talked about having their legislative staffers look into asking the U.S. Congress to make amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which limits the kind of information schools can call and tell their parents. Right now, federal law limits colleges on what information they can tell families about student behavior.

Bowles said all 16 campuses have access to trained threat assesment teams. Officials said if some campuses do not have a team, then they should be system-wide sharing.

UNC-system leaders did not take specific action at Thursday's meeting other than to announce the formation of a task force to further investigate the issue. The task force will be composed of campus chancellors, campus health counselors, campus police, attorneys, students, faculty and IT staff.

Officials also talked about a campus-wide system that in the case of an emergency, the system would send 200,000 text messages a hour and 100,000 phone calls a hour. However, there was some concern by critics over the reliability of such a system. They were worried that the amount of information could freeze up the cell phone system. 

Twelve of the 16 UNC campuses have the software to disseminate emergency information, and they hope to have it rolled out soon.

6 Comments

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  • lollly52 May 12, 2007

    Oh man - every solution the article offers boils down to 1 of 2 options. 1. Tell folks very quickly that some folks have already died. 2. Lock up every building. Neither of these options would have prevented the VA killings.
    I goggled the Appalachian killings http://johnrlott.tripod.com/apla2.html

    It does seem logical that the knowledge that there are more armed people on campus might discourage some of these sicko psychos.

  • MajorLeagueinfidel May 11, 2007

    This is a typical reaction...hold a seminar...create committees..hire and outside agency to conduct a risk assessment and then continue carrying on as usual. Smoke and Mirrors....all headed up by Irksome Bowels.

  • Harrison Bergeron May 11, 2007

    It's truly amazing to watch liberals grapple with the results of their own ridiculous efforts. They try to bend reality to conform with their vision of rainbows, flowers and hugs, and when it doesn't happen they don't understand why.

    By instituting marxist policies and trying to apply a utopian standard to those who cannot comprehend, they've exacerbated the very conditions they champion against.

    Good luck, egalitarians, you're never going to figure it out.

  • SmartAmerican May 10, 2007

    Last year, Virginia Tech helped kill a bill that would have allowed students to carry concealed handguns on campus.
    Just one armed student or teacher could have stopped this massacre. Anyone remember the Appalachian Law School attack in 2002? Google it.

    Because it is obvious that, even after the morning shooting at the dorm, the police (as usual) were unable to prevent or thwart the second shooting.

    The police did not save those dead students.

    The Virginia Tech campus gun ban did not save those dead students.

    Only force met with force could gave stopped today's tragedy. The shooter CHOSE the campus because they knew their victims would be unarmed and helpless. Far more crimes are thwarted by private citizens with legally owned firearms than by the police.

  • Lemmonn May 10, 2007

    strangers is a problem when it comes to theft and assault...but with regard to the VT shootings......that was an inside job --- so I don't see how this study has anything to do with the other situation

  • Steve Crisp May 10, 2007

    Between 1974 and 1977 when I was at NCSU, there were many incidents in the dorms -- rapes, assaults, thefts, and other crimes. Over and over students were told not to prop doors open. They still did it anyway. When I went back for my masters in the 1990s, the problem still existed. Students will never learn; it's as simple as that. And you can't lock down the academic buildings at all. The simple fact of the matter is that in every instance of gun violence in schools in the past 8 years, it was absolutely clear to everyone what was eventually going to happen and who was going to do it. Warning signs were all over the place. The best way to solve the problem is to get rid of those who create the problem.