Long known for outlaws and shootouts in the streets, the west hasn’t always been synonymous with law and order. But several western colleges are working against that old stereotype and doing whatever they can to maintain peaceful, safe communities conducive to student learning.
With security philosophies based on community, individual responsibility and crime prevention, here are four schools in the west where you can rest assured students are safe and sound.
1. University of Denver
It’s no surprise the longest-standing university in the Rocky Mountains would know a thing or two about maintaining a safe, secure college campus. The University of Denver is currently celebrating is sesquicentennial, but even amidst all the fanfare student safety is still a top priority for this community-minded university.
Grounded in a philosophy of awareness, education, prevention and service, the Department of Campus Safety puts forth a variety of educational efforts to enhance campus security including self-defense training, annual security training for university staff, CPR/AED training for staff, faculty and students and regular distribution of crime and emergency information through college publications like the “Clarion” and regularly-published brochures and fliers. Campus Safety Dispatch is on the job 24/7, logging approximately 170 dispatch events per day to ensure that every report of suspicious or dangerous behavior is investigated.
2. Oregon State University
Oregon State University is nestled in the small town of Corvallis and OSU sure makes a big splash in the academic community. Among the university’s many accolades is it’s distinction as the only Oregon university to hold both the top research institution designations from the Carnegie Foundation. OSU also has multiple grant designations including Land, Sea, Space and Sun.
And the university knows how important it is to make sure that they keep their 26,000 students free from harm as they expand their minds. Oregon State University’s Department of Public Safety partners with the Oregon State Police to keep staff, faculty and students safe and sound. One of the initiatives used to improve campus safety include the After Hours Pass program that monitors activity in all campus buildings after regular hours. The program administers passes to students, staff and faculty who need to burn the midnight oil, and ensures that during regular building patrols any building occupants are authorized to be there.
3. Montana State University
Situated in the spectacular Gallatin Valley, Montana State University offers the perfect setting for combining a love of nature and a thirst for knowledge. Bozeman, home to MSU, was ranked number two on Bizjournals.com list of top 10 dream towns for its outstanding quality of life. And that small town, back-to-nature feel extends to the MSU campus where the Montana State University Police Department is on the case to make sure all students, staff and faculty enjoy a secure educational environment.
The Department’s mission is to seek and find ways to promote, preserve and deliver security, safety and quality services. Thanks to programs like Adopt-a-Cop, where an officer receives a long-term assignment to a specific residence hall in order to foster communication, awareness and crime prevention, MSU has been able to minimize criminal activity on campus and in residence halls, with fewer than five violent offenses reported in 2012.
4. University of Idaho
They may be called the Vandals, but don’t let the name fool you – University of Idaho takes student safety seriously. Currently named a Best Western College by “The Princeton Review,” University of Idaho is a research university with a residential campus where it’s important to make sure the environment remains secure for the over 10,000 students who call this Moscow, ID campus home.
The Office of Public Safety and Security performs regular, visible patrols, checks all campus buildings, provides Safe Walk services to all members of the university community and sponsors activities like Take Back the Night, Stop the Hate and the Green Dot program, which focuses on personal responsibility to act rather than simply stand by while a crime or other emergency happens. Recently the “I Got Your Back” campaign was launched to encourage students to take care of each other to keep the college community safe and crime-free. This campaign addresses all areas of campus life from emergency responses and violence prevention to mental health and alcohol and drug use.
What western college seems the safest to you?
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more