January 14, 2009 - Task Force Releases Annual Report on Safety and Security of Oklahoma’s Campuses
A group of state officials formally released today to Gov. Brad Henry and the Legislature the annual report on safety and security of Oklahoma’s college, university and career technology campuses.
The Campus Life and Safety and Security (CLASS) Task Force was created in 2007 by Gov. Brad Henry following the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech. On Feb. 12, 2008, at the request of the task force, Henry extended the activities of the task force for the purpose of implementing the recommendations of its final report and continuing to review and evaluate safety and security at higher education and career technology campuses and make recommendations for modifications as needed.
“Our campuses are making great strides to ensure the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff on a daily basis,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, chairman of the task force. “Through the ongoing work of the members of the task force, we will continue to work with our campuses to provide a more secure environment for our campus communities.”
“The collaboration among agencies and institutions is beneficial to ensure a safe and secure environment for students and employees of colleges and technology centers in our state,” said Phil Berkenbile, vice chair of the task force and state director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. “Education, communications and preparation are essential as we continue the process of planning for the future.”
The task force found that in a recent campus survey, more campuses are using a broader array of technologies such as cell phones and text messaging to notify students in the event of any emergency. More than half of the campuses in the state have plans for bomb threats, active shooters and hazardous waste.
During 2008, more campuses formulated plans in cooperation with local law enforcement, and more than half are now providing emergency plans to local emergency management operations. More than 80 percent of the campuses provide training to staff and students annually.
The survey indicates that 47 percent of campuses provide a mental health recovery plan. In the initial survey, only 30 percent of campuses provided this service.
In 2008, funding surveys were sent to 73 higher education and career technology institutions. Among responding institutions, the average per-student budget for security is $37.44 and $8.68 for mental health counseling services.
The Funding Subcommittee of the task force determined that notification, response and mental health counseling budgets should equal $100 per student, and that $16 million is needed annually to assure all institutions will have baseline funding. The CLASS Task Force has submitted a legislative request for the funds to be appropriated through the Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security and distributed to public and private higher education institutions and career technology centers.
The complete CLASS Task Force annual report, final report and recommendations are available online at www.okhighered.org/class.