New program helps measure safety on college campuses

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – A new program gives parents and students a useful resource when it comes to evaluating the safety of college campuses.

The 32 National Campus Safety Initiative was a collaboration among safety experts and the parents of the victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.

The program helps parents ask the tough questions, and the schools themselves find their strengths and weaknesses, when it comes to safety on campus.

Sophomore Emily Haas was wounded in the shootings, and has since recovered. Her mother Lori was one of several parents who helped shape the new program. She said it will encourage schools to share vital information about potential threats. Haas said that was not the case in Blacksburg in April 2007.

“The shooter himself had become known to different administrators, but they didn’t share that information with each other,” Lori Haas told 10 On Your Side. “Information is key to solving a lot of problems.”

The survey gives colleges and universities a method for self-assessment on alcohol and other drugs, campus public safety, sexual violence, hazing and five other critical topics.

Even more important, the program benefits students and their families with a list of key questions to ask when evaluating a school. Some examples:

  • Is there a timely warning policy?
  • What sort of follow-up services are available to victims of sexual assault?
  • How does the campus handle missing student reports?

“I think this will be informational for parents, and they can look just where the strong points and strong areas,” Haas said. “I think that will be key in helping parents and their students make decisions.”

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