Sen. Warner introduces campus safety bill

Mechelle Hankerson
News Editor

Sen. Mark Warner has been called a champion for national deficit reduction, but some of his more recent activity in Congress may suggest he’s just as concerned with higher education.

Last month, Warner introduced the CAMPUS Safety Act of 2011, which calls for the establishment of a national center for campus public safety.

“(The bill came about) in the aftermath of the tragedy at Virginia Tech,” Warner said during last Monday’s visit to VCU. “It tries to put a more uniform approach on campus security.”

In the bill introduced to Congress, the center is given five main functions: to train campus public safety agencies (which would include campus mental health agencies), assist in safety research, help disseminate information regarding relevant campus safety practices, developing tools and procedures for institutions to recover from man-made and natural emergencies and help campus law enforcement, mental health and other agencies work cooperatively to serve their jurisdictions.

“Here we are several years after (the Tech tragedy), and there’s a lot of schools that don’t seem to perform very well (with campus safety),” Warner said. “This says that you’ve got to at least put some systems in place.”

While the bill sets out no specific programs or initiatives to achieve these goals, Warner did allude to the use of the center to implement notification systems on campuses.

“It (doesn’t) mandate specific rules on each university,” Warner said. “It’s been viewed as relatively non-controversial.”

The bill is co-sponsored by fellow Virginia Senator Jim Webb and was most recently referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and is not up for congressional vote.

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