New Mexico Governor Announces Campus Safety Plan for Colleges, Universities

SANTA FE, N.M. – Governor Bill Richardson has outlined several campus safety initiatives for New Mexico colleges and universities. The campus safety plan, which builds on the expertise of New Mexico’s Emergency Preparedness efforts, was created by a task force and adopted by the Governor as a result of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

“What we learned from the Virginia Tech tragedy and during this review is that we have to tap into existing local and state emergency management efforts to ensure our campuses are safe,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “College campuses are obviously less secure than primary schools, and some small colleges do not have any type of security whatsoever. Nevertheless, there are steps we can take to take advantage of existing emergency preparedness systems.”

The initiatives include:

  • Form a statewide Campus Safety Committee, which will continue to meet and oversee campus safety efforts on college campuses
  • Expand campus emergency response plans to include local and state emergency management entities
  • Provide emergency response training or enhance existing training for campus communities, including students, faculty, and staff.
  • Campuses will have access to additional resources and expertise to extend the reach of their emergency response efforts, and will have ongoing assistance to continue to elevate the quality of their individual emergency response plans of action.

The task force, chaired by New Mexico Highlands University Board of Regents Chair Javier Gonzales, was comprised of campus and public law enforcement officials, college and university representatives, health care professionals, emergency management specialists, and other members of the Governor’s Cabinet.

In-depth campus safety surveys were conducted of each of the state’s 28 public college and university campuses. Campus safety was examined from several perspectives including emergency management response, access to behavioral health services, law enforcement presence on campuses, and inherent limitations in federal law regarding the sharing of information on persons of potential interest.

“Because of the collaborative work of the task force, our campuses will be better prepared in the event of an emergency, will have more resources available should an emergency occur, and will provide a higher level of safety for our students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors,” said Higher Education Secretary Dr. Beverlee J. McClure.

“The Governor has taken decisive steps to ensure an all-hazards approach to protect our campuses from both man-made and naturally occurring disasters,” said Tim Manning, Director of the newly created Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “We have called upon the best emergency managers in the state to aid in the updating of plans, training of personnel, and enhancing law enforcement capabilities.”

For more information, contact the New Mexico Higher Education Department at 505-476-6500, toll free at 800-279-9777.

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Office of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson press release

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