Security Uncertainties: What’s Worrying Students

Our infographic highlights eight safety concerns, in students’ own words, and what colleges can do to address them.

July 15, 2022
An illustration showing outlines of people walking and biking on a college campus.

While few would disagree that higher education leaders keep campus safety top of mind, campus safety department heads often find themselves falling short on funds to do everything they would like to do to ensure their communities—on campus and around campus—are as safe as possible.

Student Voice explores higher education from the perspective of students, providing unique insights on their attitudes and opinions. Kaplan provides funding and insights to support Inside Higher Ed’s coverage of student polling data from College Pulse. Inside Higher Ed maintains editorial independence and full discretion over its coverage.

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“Even at large institutions with massive budgets, sometimes the police department doesn’t have a massive budget,” says Chief Patrick A. Ogden, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and associate vice president for the University of Delaware Police. Cost is one reason Ogden believes many IACLEA members may not have gotten accreditation from the organization.

Currently, 71 of its 1,100 member agencies are accredited, with another 45 candidate agencies working toward initial accreditation, which indicates having demonstrated an ongoing commitment to excellent performance in every aspect of operations.

Another roadblock to accreditation for campus security departments, commitment to training officers and to policy development, is indirectly related to budgets. “To do it the right way, it’s pretty much a full-time job,” Ogden says, adding that his department is “accredited to the extreme,” through multiple organizations, and has a sergeant whose full-time job centers around accreditation.

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Full consideration about what safety and security efforts to take, and what upgrades to make, involves getting a better grasp on what students express both collectively and individually.

The latest Student Voice survey asked 2,004 undergraduates about how safe they feel in various situations and what investments they hope their colleges will prioritize in making the environment on and around campus safer. Conducted in mid-May by Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse with support from Kaplan, the survey’s results and additional comments from respondents reveal eight common safety concerns that higher ed institutions could address through staffing and purchasing.

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