CLARIFICATION: The UNC-system is the first college system in the U.S. to comprehensively address campus safety, but the campus security initiative is not the first plan introduced by the system.
The final report of a UNC-system campus security initiative — the first of its kind among state university systems nationwide — was unveiled Thursday at the Board of Governors meeting in Chapel Hill.
The initiative, launched by system President Tom Ross in August 2013, sought to evaluate potential system-wide solutions within three categories: emergency preparedness on campuses, sexual assault and harassment and alcohol and drug abuse.
“We are well ahead of the curve because of the work we’ve done,” Randy Woodson, chancellor of N.C. State University and co-chair of the initiative, said while presenting the report to board members and state higher education leaders.
The group issued its recommendations in the midst of UNC-Chapel Hill’s own review of sexual assault on campus led by a task force made up of experts, administrators and students. The State Bureau of Investigation is also investigating Elizabeth City State University after accusations surfaced that campus police ignored more than 120 reported crimes.
The report follows a national effort in the same security vein — a bipartisan U.S. Senate bill called the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, announced this week, would set national training standards for combating sexual violence and increase transparency on campuses dealing with assault allegations.
The initiative report cited 26 findings and 36 policy recommendations, which will require about $12.8 million in projected annual costs to implement. Funding sources for the plan have yet to be determined, Ross said, but will be discussed this fall.
A brief policy discussion among board members followed the report. Sexual assault, as well as the frequent correlation between alcohol and sexual violence, were focal points.
Nationwide data suggests 95 percent of all violent crimes and 90 percent of sexual assaults that occur in college campus communities involve alcohol, according to the report.