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UC Regents to Discuss Student Mental Health and Campus Security at Upcoming Meeting

A UC task force appointed to study campus security and student mental heath issues recently released its report on improving mental health services and campus security. The report recommends providing additional funding for student mental health and developing plans and procedures for rapid response to potential violent critical incidents. In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, UC President Robert C. Dynes created a 19-member security task force to study how UC campuses can enhance their security, notification process, mental health services and general preparedness. "As the Virginia Tech and even more recent Northern Illinois University tragedies remind us, campus security and mental health remain pressing issues for university campuses," said Dynes. "Ensuring the safety and well-being of our students is one of the University of California's highest priorities, and we must constantly strive to improve our efforts in these critical areas. The task force has given us an important road map to do that." After reviewing campus security measures, student mental health practices and policies, emergency preparedness, and other key components, the task force is recommending in its report, that the University provide additional funding for student mental health and develop plans and procedures for rapid response to potential violent critical incidents. The UC Board of Regents will discuss the task force report at its March 20 meeting at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. The recent incident at UC Davis, where 455 students were evacuated and explosive materials safely removed from a campus residence hall, demonstrates the importance of having adequate safeguards and security measures in place, and highlights the ability of campus public safety departments, in coordination with others members of the campus community, to work with outside agencies in rapidly disseminating warnings and emergency information to the campus community. The University believes it's critical to continue to regularly assess and update its policies and procedures concerning student mental health and campus security. UC also strives to incorporate recommendations made in these important areas. The task force report notes that over the last few years the University has taken many positive and pro-active actions to ensure the safety and security of UC campuses. Recent initiatives include:
  • UC campus police are engaging in active shooter scenario training.
  • Most campuses have established interoperable radio communications with local public safety agencies.
  • Campuses have expanded emergency mass notification systems at all campuses and have developed workplace violence training and education for faculty, staff and students.
  • Many UC campuses have implemented a number of physical security measures and safeguards, including panic or alarm systems, and emergency call boxes.
The University has also already begun seeking to address many of the challenges in the area of mental health. Through an increase in UC's registration fees for 2007-08, approximately $4 million will be directed specifically to mental health needs. On the campus level, the vice chancellors for student affairs have created a blueprint plan of action on student mental health, which largely depends upon additional funding. In December 2005, UC Provost Wyatt R. Hume charged a 12-member student mental health committee with examining trends in student mental health and how those trends are being managed both nationally and at the University of California. The committee issued its report in September 2006. Related Links: University of California