N.J. Colleges, Universities to Submit Security Plans to OHSP

Published: April 23, 2007

TRENTON, N.J. РActing Governor Richard J. Codey has announced that colleges and universities across the state agreed to submit campus security plans to the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) by the end of May of this year. The announcement came after a meeting between the Acting Governor, Homeland Security Director Dick Ca̱as, Commission on Higher Education Executive Director Jane Oates and college and university presidents from across New Jersey.

“In the wake of the horrific incident at Virginia Tech, we all have a responsibility to look to our own campuses to ensure they are secure,” acting Governor Codey says. “Through partnership and collaboration, state government and the colleges and universities of New Jersey can share best practices and develop protocols to prevent and, God forbid, respond to these types of events.”

In 2004, the New Jersey Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force asked the Commission on Higher Education to work collaboratively with the presidents at colleges and universities to develop Homeland Security Best Practices Guidelines for the Higher Education Sector. Those guidelines were approved by the Task Force in December 2005 and disseminated to colleges and universities in January 2006.

In April of last year, most New Jersey colleges and universities completed a self-assessment of security procedures. Currently, there is a pilot peer review program where three universities review their own practices with other experts in the field; that program is to be rolled out on a broader basis in the coming years. This latest announcement builds on these previous efforts to ensure that the Administration is a close partner in the review process.

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“Protecting our college campuses demands a thorough, well thought-out plan and a constant evaluation of our progress,” Director Cañas says. “The Administration’s active involvement demonstrates our commitment providing our colleges and universities with the support and expertise they need to protect their communities.”

The plans will include information on the universities’ preparation strategies in case of emergencies, their relationships with local law enforcement and the policies and procedures used to inform students in case of an emergency.

Universities and colleges will provide the OHSP their security plans by the end of May, working off of templates provided by OHSP which lay out the key concerns to be addressed.

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An Office of the Governor of the State of New Jersey press release.

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