Editorial: A welcome boost to campus safety
Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 01:10
In light of the numerous reported instances of violence on college campuses over the past few years, the Oct. 7 announcement of the Tufts Threat Assessment Management (TTAM) program was not a moment too soon.
Tufts’ Department of Public and Environmental Safety, which consists of the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD), Environmental Health & Safety, Fire Safety, Emergency Management/Communications, Tufts Emergency Medical Services and Administrative Services, will be in charge of implementing and maintaining TTAM.
This new program is a step in the right direction, preemptively addressing the threat of violence at Tufts and providing an additional safety resource to all three campuses at a time when crime in and around the Medford/Somerville campus seems to be on the rise. With the introduction of TTAM, Tufts joins several peer institutions that have adopted similar systems in an effort to improve their campus safety and crisis management capacities.
The preparation and accessibility of these resources means that the administration will be able to identify and address threats to student safety in an organized and timely manner — and hopefully prevent violence on campus. Additionally, this program increases the administration’s capacity to assist community members who may be placed in dangerous situations on campus.
TTAM follows other improvements to the safety apparatus on campus regarding pedestrian safety, implemented in the beginning of summer 2012 and announced this past September. These improvements were accompanied by a short video created by TUPD, encouraging pedestrians to practice good safety habits.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of TTAM, similar efforts should be made to educate members of the Tufts community about the new program. Although the administration states that “recognizing and reporting early signs of a potentially dangerous situation are crucial to preventing violence” and offers a short list of things to do in an emergency situation, more information should be sent out about how to communicate with the TTAM staff, as well as how to respond in various emergency situations. Increased awareness of TTAM around campus would certainly enhance the system’s value.
That being said, the creation of TTAM lends confidence to our university’s ability to protect any students who feel as if they are in an unsafe situation on campus.