Top chiefs from six different campuses will participate in Campus Safety Conference East and West opening sessions.
This summer, six college public safety chiefs will welcome hundreds of attendees to Campus Safety Conference East and West, kicking off the two-day events. Moderated by Randy Burba, Chief of Public Safety for Chapman University and Will Glen, Chief of Police for Irvine Valley College Police Department, the sessions will feature John Thomas of the University of Southern California’s (USC) Department of Public Safety; Daniel Dusseau of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA); New Mexico State University Police Department’s Stephen Lopez; and John Venuti of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Police.
For the panel, each chief will address an incident or concern at their campus and how they handled or prepared for the situation. Key topics discussed will include perception of safety surveys, community outreach, Clery audits, militarization of police and mobile communication apps. Each panelist will answer questions from the moderator and extensive time will be allowed for audience interaction and questions.
According to Burba, other topics up for discussion include getting administrator buy-in and international students on campus.
“Each chief will pick a topic and then address it and/or tell how he worked through the issue,” says Burba, who sees the wide range of topics as being particularly relevant in today’s diverse educational environment.
“If you think about the colleges and universities across the U.S., you can be talking to a Nobel Prize winner one minute and then dealing with a life-threatening situation the next,” he points out. “That makes targeting messaging and safety for everyone across all walks of life extremely difficult. Nothing is obvious, and good communication really is the key.”
When it comes to international students on campus, for example, Burba says the focus should be on becoming good global citizens.
“That’s part of the mantra at our school,” he notes. “The world has shrunk significantly due to technology usage, and we’re seeing a major influx in international students. The question is, how do you manage the various cultural differences and make all students feel welcome and safe? These are a few of the key areas that we’ll be discussing on the panel.”
Ultimately, Burba says if people don’t perceive their campus environments as “safe,” they won’t trust the very departments that have been put in place to protect them.
“Safety is about more than just doing good crime prevention surveys and gathering intelligence,” he says. “As chiefs, we need to be out there making connections with our diverse populations, initiating conversations and creating more positive interactions for everyone involved.”
The third annual Campus Safety Conferences are education and training events for anyone who has a stake in ensuring the public safety and security of our nation’s K-12 schools, universities, and colleges. Taking place in Washington, D.C., July 25-26 and Long Beach, Calif., Aug. 9-10, the conferences provide full-day training workshops, a K-12 safety panel, dozens of conference sessions, and more than 35 companies showcasing their products, services and technologies.