For institutions of higher learning, the pace of change and number of safety and security challenges have accelerated in recent years. Active shooter incidents have become the new normal, with 2018 breaking grim records going back to the 1970s for injuries and fatalities from school shootings. Reports of sexual assault and other forms of violence against women have also seen a significant uptick on campuses, a result of shifting social recognition and more stringent reporting requirements. In parallel, safety issues have morphed in response to environmental and social realities, from the need for climate-conscious building code standards to updated guidelines on supporting campus members with mental or physical disabilities.
Traditionally, keeping these security and safety risks separate, i.e. managed by different teams on campus, may have made sense on a theoretical level. After all, dealing with malicious threats like shooters, bombers, or other forms of intentional violence has traditionally been the domain of security experts. Meanwhile, safety issues like workplace accidents or hazardous materials management typically fall under different regulatory frameworks and departmental oversight. But in reality, the operational mandates of both security and safety personnel are deeply intertwined. They should, therefore, be managed under the same integrated safety and security portfolio.
The evidence suggests that many kinds of safety vulnerabilities, particularly on campus, cascade into security incidents, and vice versa.
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