Study Calls for Widespread Revisions to UNC Safety Policies

Recommendations include adoption of sexual violence policies, competitive pay for public safety officers, CALEA accreditation and more.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) released results from a study of the coordination of security and safety efforts at the system’s 17 campuses. The report includes 36 recommendations.

The priority recommendations from the study include:

  • The University should adopt a system policy on sexual harassment and sexual violence.
  • Students should not serve on student disciplinary hearing panels in cases involving sexual violence. Individuals who hear sexual violence cases must have appropriate levels of experience and training.
  • Reports or complaints involving serious offenses, such as sexual violence, should be investigated by individuals with appropriate professional training and investigative experience.
  • Every UNC campus police department should, with sufficient funding, meet baseline proficiency standards by pursuing accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) or a comparable association,  such as the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA).
  • The University should seek the resources necessary to increase salaries and fund competitive pay for public safety officers and telecommunicators to established law enforcement market rates.
  • Staff capacity and expertise on each campus and at UNC General Administration must be sufficient to implement campus security efforts, coordinate and lead emergency and disaster prevention, comply with regulatory and legal requirements, engage effectively with external law enforcement and emergency management agencies, lead response and recovery efforts, and administer the Campus Safety Plan, the Emergency Operations Plan, and the Threat Assessment Team.
  • Each campus should establish and adequately fund a Clery compliance officer position to coordinate Clery Act compliance activities.
  • The University should establish a system-wide Campus Security Committee composed of campus police and emergency operations personnel, legal counsel, Clery compliance and Title IX staff, student affairs personnel, faculty, students, employees with substance abuse expertise, community service providers, public agency specialists, and others in an ongoing effort to address safety and security issues.
  • In collaboration with campuses, UNC General Administration should enhance staff capacity to lead collaborative efforts with campuses by: (1) offering compliance assistance, training, and coordination in campus security and safety matters, including Clery, Title IX, campus law enforcement, and related areas; (2) developing guidelines and training materials, content checklists, manuals, sample template communications, and compliance updates; and (3) exploring the issuance of a system-wide request for proposal for basic online training content, which campuses could then choose to access through a master agreement.
  • Each campus police department, with coordination by General Administration, should provide basic campus law enforcement officer training to newly-hired officers and advanced interpersonal violence investigation training for police investigators.
  • All campuses should continue to develop the capacity and resources to assess and treat mental health issues. Essential resources include accredited counseling centers, experienced and credentialed clinicians and case managers, prompt access to services, and policies that serve to de-stigmatize the treatment of mental health problems and promote culturally-appropriate modes of treatment.
  • Campus should develop comprehensive, evidence-based programs to reduce the harm associated with alcohol and drug abuse among students. These efforts should attempt to change the underlying culture of alcohol and substance abuse among students, including efforts to change the culture of alcohol and substance abuse on campus and in the community.

UNC previously conducted studies in 2004 and 2007, and the current study reviewed the work of two earlier system-wide campus safety task forces. Some of the recommendations from the 2007 study were put on hold due to the 2008 recession, and the report indicates implementation of those remaining recommendations is “pressing.” The 2007 student focused on student mental health and large-scale campus incidents.

Last year’s allegations that UNC-Chapel Hill and Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) underreported crimes and mishandled sexual assault cases prompted UNC System President Tom Ross to call for a review of campus security of all UNC schools.

Read the full report.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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