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Conference Focuses on Safety on Campuses

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GREENVILLE, N.C. — Representatives from state college campuses throughout North Carolina gathered at East Carolina University on Friday for discussions about how they can keep students safe and how students can help protect themselves.

On the minds of more than 200 officials from university and community college campuses were the deaths of two UNC-Wilmington students in 2004 and the slaying this month of a North Carolina Central University graduate student.

“It’s just a need to always focus on what we've learned from another place and what we can bring here to ECU to do better,” said Marilyn Sheerer, ECU’s interim vice chancellor for student life.

The representatives had no reason to doubt that safety is a real issue.

In 2004, UNC-W student Jessica Faulker was killed in her dorm room. A month later, Christen Naujoks, another UNC-W student, was shot near her apartment. Earlier this month North Carolina Central graduate student Denita Smith was killed outside her apartment near NCCU in Durham.

Among the keynote speakers was Steven J. Healy, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and head of public safety at Princeton University.

“We know that campuses are not isolated. We're part of the community, and we must work with the community to solve these problems,” Healy said.

Topics that the groups discussed included student background information and criminal background checks, information about violence, rape and stalking; including the role of technology like "facebook.com" and "myspace.com."

“A lot of students are putting information out there that unfortunately makes them more vulnerable,” Sheerer said.

Faulkner, 18, was killed by another student who investigators said had lied about his criminal record when he applied to UNCW.

“When we walk away, we want to be thinking about it more, keeping it in our awareness screen, if you will,” Sheerer explained.


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