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May 24, 2007 :: Task Force Examines Safety on Oklahoma’s Campuses

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Five weeks after the Virginia Tech shootings, a group of Oklahoma officials has formally begun talks to improve safety and counseling services at our own campuses in the state.

Members of the Campus Life and Safety and Security (CLASS) Task Force, a group created by Gov. Brad Henry in April, held its inaugural meeting Wednesday at the State Regents’ office in Oklahoma City.

Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, chairman of the CLASS Task Force, said the group’s focus will be on both response and prevention.

“This is a serious issue that needs thoughtful reflection and dialog,” Johnson said. “The members of this task force all bring their own unique perspective to the table. By taking these differing views of the problem, I am confident we can reach our goal of making the students attending our college and CareerTech campuses in Oklahoma safer.”

The task force will examine current security plans and student counseling services at Oklahoma’s campuses. They will study aspects including emergency response, notification systems, counseling services, current laws and policies, and available funding.

The group will recommend measures that will better protect students and improve emergency response. The recommendations will be applicable to CareerTech campuses, independent colleges and universities, and public colleges and universities. Recommendations will be reported to the governor and legislative leadership by Jan. 15, 2008.

The CLASS Task Force consists of 15 members from higher education, career and technology education, public safety and health services. Johnson serves as chairman, and Phil Berkenbile, CareerTech state director, serves as vice chairman.