While in Los Angeles meeting with alumni last week, I learned about the terrible shootings at Northern Illinois University. Like everyone else, I was shocked and dismayed. Since returning this Monday I have met with many of the people responsible for the safety of our campus community. Incidents such as the NIU tragedy remind us that we can never stop looking for ways to improve campus security; that we can never review our procedures and policies enough to ensure they are as strong as they can be in protecting our students, faculty, and staff.
Recent events on our campus have caused some to question whether our policies go far enough in ensuring that our students are safe. Let me assure you that I have full confidence that we would never allow a student or other member of the campus community to remain on campus, let alone in a position of authority, if we believed that they might pose a threat in any way.
The safety of our students is always paramount in our actions; the safety of our students is not just about better door locks, more lighting, and strict policies. Those things are important. But more important, we need to do our jobs as educators to help students understand their rights and how to respect the rights of others. We need to be ever vigilant and constantly strive to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for our students, and for every member of our community.