II. Learning and Success

Chapter 8. Creating a Safe Community

Dr. Ed Ray

Chapter Overview

Over the last decade a great deal of attention has been focused by institutions and state and federal law enforcement on issues of domestic abuse and sexual violence on campuses. Too often the focus has been on protecting institutional reputations and whether a case can be proven in court. Too little attention has been paid to the needs of survivors. In fact, the term “institutional betrayal” has emerged to describe the situation in which victims get little support from institutions sworn to keep them safe. At the same time, the Civil Rights Commission and other federal, state, and local authorities have demanded that colleges and universities do more to punish offenders, protect the rights of the accused, and support victims in a timely way. How do colleges and universities wishing to be responsible respond to those demands?

As is the case throughout our society, students, faculty, and staff experience problems with physical and mental health, drug abuse, and family needs. Best practices for addressing these fundamental personal and family needs should be developed and shared across the academy.

Sometimes the people who are supposed to protect us pose a threat to us. Police brutality on and off campuses is a too common occurrence in our society. Should campuses rely on local police for protection or have their own public safety programs?

  • Domestic violence, sexual assault, and institutional betrayal.

Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault often feel that they are betrayed by those they trust who abuse them and then betrayed again by the college/university seeking to protect an institution’s reputation. Beyond litigation that may succeed or fail, what can institutions do to better serve the needs of victims? How do institutions respond responsibly to external demands to punish offenders, support victims, and respect the rights of the accused?

  • Substance abuse, mental health, family services.

What are the most effective programs in academic institutions to address drug abuse and mental health problems among faculty, staff, and students? What are best practices of a college/university that is serious about providing work-life balance for faculty, staff, and students?

  • Public safety.

What is the most effective way to provide a safe living, working, and study environment for the campus community? Should institutions rely on local, county, and state police to meet their safety needs or develop their own public safety programs? Should campus police carry guns? Are there effective training programs for campus public safety?

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A Handbook of Higher Education Leadership Copyright © 2024 by Dr. Ed Ray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.