July 23, 2009

Study to explore students’ views of campus safety

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Three Southern Illinois University Carbondale professors in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice will follow up a recent study of campus safety by surveying students for their perceptions of campus safety.

George W. Burruss, Matthew J. Giblin and Joseph A. Schafer will survey students at six Illinois community college and university campuses during the fall 2009 and spring 2010 semesters. The researchers are still confirming which schools will participate. The study, “Student Perceptions of Campus Safety Initiatives: Assessing the Views of Critical Incident Prevention and Response,” seeks to answer questions posed by a previous survey and report the three scholars prepared.

That survey, “Critical Incident Preparedness and Response on Campus: Examining the Relationship Between Local Law Enforcement and Post-Secondary Institutions in Illinois and the United States,” came out in December 2008, within weeks of the first anniversary of the Northern Illinois University campus shooting. The report examined whether any new preparedness steps were taken on campuses after the Virginia Tech shootings and the subsequent re-examination of campus safety in Illinois and elsewhere. The research was under way at the time of the NIU campus shootings.

“(The two studies) are related in that this one seeks to answer some questions that our first report could not -- most importantly, what do students think about campus safety in the wake of the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois campus shootings?” Burruss said. “The research is related, but this is a completely new project.”

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority funded both reports. The ICJIA, a state agency, administers grants, develops criminal justice policies and publishes research studies relevant to criminal justice.

The entire report on “Critical Incident Preparedness and Response” is available online.