As Congress continues to debate legislation to provide colleges and universities with federal dollars to pay for improved campus security, violence continues on our campuses. The year 2007 will go down as the most deadliest year for university campuses with more than 40 murders. Is there anyone that thinks this will not continue?

This violence has made enhanced school security a priority for college administrators, who are specifically focused on how to improve the school’s planned response to a serious violent act on or near campus. As college administrators struggle with fitting these improvements into already tight budgets, it i doubtful that they can afford to wait for Congress to act and provide federal matching funds.

Among the top questions asked by parents touring school facilities are related to campus safety. It would be difficult to find a parent who was not willing to pay a little extra for security enhancements to protect their children. To the contrary, for many college-bound students and their parents choosing a school this Spring, their decision may be influenced by the security enhancements instituted in response to the VT, NIU, and Delaware State shootings.

With that in mind, schools simply cannot afford to take the chance that “it cannot happen here”. Faced with today’s violent reality, schools have to contemplate how their “security response plan to violent acts” would be evaluated in an after-action review. At a minimum, all schools need to complete a full internal self-assessment (and more importantly an outside assessment by an independent contractor) and take corrective action.

Even if Congress passes legislation (which is currently in House-Senate conference) to fund enhanced campus/school security, colleges and universities will not see any federal dollars until next year.

Can school administrators really afford to wait?