Addressing Contemporary Campus Safety Issues: New Directions in Student Services No. 99

Addressing Contemporary Campus Safety Issues: New Directions in Student Services No. 99

Lancaster, James M

Addressing Contemporary Campus Safety Issues: New Directions in Student Services No. 99 Christine K. Wilkinson, James A. Rund (Editors) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002, 105 pages, $65.00 per subscription

Floods, fires, and other threats to safety traditionally have confronted individual colleges and universities since their inception. What has changed today is that there are more such issues and their effects tend to be generalized and far-reaching. In this edition of New Directions for Student Services, editors Christine K. Wilkinson and James A. Rund offer nine essays by 12 authors concerning contemporary campus safety. Their purpose is to examine historic, current, and future issues and practices. Faculty in student development and newcomers to student affairs will find this a useful text. Experienced practitioners, finding little new information, should appreciate this competent, issue-based compendium with which to evaluate their own practice. The authors are experienced practitioners in student affairs and, in one case, in academic support services. Their writing reflects common sense and practical experience in safety issues that their colleagues in student affairs should find readable and credible.

In chapter 1, “The Changing Context of Campus Safety,” coeditor of the edition James A. Rund reviews the meaning of safety and previews the essays to come. A “safe campus,” says Rund, is “one that provides students the opportunity to pursue their academic potential in an environment free of discrimination, intimidation, or threat to physical or emotional well-being” (Rund, p. 8). The author suggests eight strategies for “helping to ensure” such a campus.

Barbara B. Hollmann, author of chapter 2, “Hazing: Hidden Campus Crime,” cites alarming statistics on the incidence of campus hazing. She also implicates a wide range of campus student organizations that actively encourage or passively permit hazing. The chapter concludes with pertinent suggestions for dealing with this widespread behavior.

Parents are increasingly concerned and assertive about the safety of their students on campus. Chapter 3, “Parents and Campus Safety,” provides a competent historical survey of the relationship among parents, students and institutions and the legislative issues that have resulted from more recent events. Author Debra Sells concludes by offering useful advice for the creation of “parental partnerships” with institutions.

Relations between town and gown can be as challenging as those between institutions and parents. Authors Michael L. Jackson and Cynthia Cherrey, in chapter 4, “Collaboration With the Local Community,” review the history of the University of Southern California’s relationship with its neighbors and offer guidance on creating better relationships with communities surrounding a campus.

Chapters 5 and 6, “Confronting Undesirable Traditions: A Case Study” (Linda M. Clement) and “Addressing Ongoing Safety Issues” (Michael Young, Dennis L. Nord, & Yonie Harris), overlap topical areas briefly in their case study approach to an athletic event’s aftermath at the University of Maryland, College Park and an automobile tragedy at the University of California, Santa Barbara, respectively. Both chapters offer good insights as to how such events occur and suggestions for proactive planning to deal with crises.

Chapters 7 and 8 take readers beyond the boundaries of the traditional campus and community with Janet S. Scharman’s “The Extended Campus-Safety Abroad” and Robert M. Schaefer’s “Technology-Safety and security.” The authors suggest that faculty, students, and administrators must share in the complex task of informing practice by looking beyond the boundaries of traditional programs and services.

The final chapter of this edition, coeditor Christine K. Wilkinson’s “September 11, 2001,” was a last-minute addition to this collection of essays. As author Wilkinson concedes, no author, at such short chronological perspective, could reasonably be prescient or fully interpretative about these still painful events. Wilkinson succeeds in conveying that national and international events have important safety implications for local campuses.

A brief review of current literature provides a wealth of individual articles on selected topics related to safety and particular crises. The complex social, ethical, legal, and political matrix from which contemporary concerns about campus safety arise is in constant flux, insuring that no single essay or collection of essays can be expected to be at once pertinent and definitive in addressing best practice and future trends in safety. The current edition makes no such attempts. In “Addressing Contemporary Campus Safety Issues,” editors Wilkinson and Rund successfully remind seasoned practitioners, as well as faculty and new professionals, of the constant concerns and practical remedies that crises past, present, and future occasion.

Reviewed by James M. Lancaster, Appalachian State University

Copyright American College Personnel Association May/Jun 2003

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