Rowan listed among safest colleges in the nation

Rowan listed among safest colleges in the nation

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Rowan University has been ranked among the safest colleges in America by the National Council for Home Safety and Security

Rowan ranked 38th among the top 100 safest colleges judged from among more than 2,000 institutions by the council, which is comprised of companies and individuals in the home safety and security industries.

“Universities of our size are small cities and the reality of the matter is that crime happens on campus. But we take a comprehensive approach, which includes training, educational programs and regular reviews of our procedures,” says Rowan University President Ali A. Houshmand.

“We take great pride in the efforts we’ve taken to create a safe environment on our campuses.”

Rowan’s nationally accredited Department of Public Safety is a leader in campus safety and follows the same protocols as the finest law enforcement agencies in the nation. Moreover, the University has a wide variety of student and employee educational programs that keep safety at the forefront of people’s minds, Houshmand adds.

In developing its safety rankings, the National Council for Home Safety and Security reviewed 2,167 four-year colleges and universities with student populations of 15,000 or higher nationwide. According to its web site, the council reviewed the most recent data reported to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the National Center for Education Statistics.

Data regarding criminal crimes, arrests, and domestic violence, dating violence and stalking were included. The Washington, D.C.-based council considered statistics related to incidents that occurred on campus, in campus housing and off campus.

In 2011, Rowan’s Department of Public Safety made history when it became the first law enforcement agency from a New Jersey college to gain national accreditation from CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). 

The department has been reaccredited twice since then—in 2014 and again earlier this year.

The gold standard of public safety excellence, CALEA accreditation means that the department adheres to the same standards as the nation’s top law enforcement agencies. To achieve accreditation, the department was required to demonstrate compliance with 484 standards that address nine major areas of law enforcement.

Approximately 50 safety and security departments in institutions nationwide have achieved CALEA accreditation. Rowan is one of two in New Jersey.

Two years ago, Public Safety became the first department at a New Jersey institution to require officers to wear body cameras. The department prides itself on being a leader in public safety on college campuses in New Jersey and beyond, says Michael Kantner, assistant vice president of public safety and Rowan’s emergency management coordinator.

“A college campus is a very open environment. Whether it’s young adults or employees, it’s a unique setting that requires a lot of collaboration and communication to institute the types of programs that create a safe environment,” says Kantner.

The department regularly offers safety training to the University community, including active shooter presentations to students, faculty, staff and administrators.

Rowan’s rapid growth over the past five years is reflected in the number of calls handled by the Department of Public Safety. The department includes 34 academy-trained police officers, 58 security officers, 27 communications and support personnel and 22 student patrol members. They work in concert with police departments in Glassboro, Stratford and Camden.

Last year, the department responded to more than 45,000 calls for service across all campuses. Calls for service have doubled over the past five years, according to Kantner.

The University has grown exponentially since 2012. In that time, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and Rowan SOM both joined the institution, new academic buildings were built, and enrollment increased to more than 17,000 students.

While the Department of Public Safety leads the way in campus safety, safety initiatives are in place in departments and divisions across all Rowan campuses. Two years ago, the Division of Student Affairs was recognized nationally for its dedication to safety by Safe Campus: The National Campus Safety Summit. 

In recognition of safety efforts University-wide, Safe Campus named the division one of the nation’s top 25 administrative departments making a difference in student safety. Rowan was third of the 2016 Top 25 list, which included Syracuse, Indiana, Towson, Virginia Commonwealth, and Tulane universities.

The division offers a host of safety programs, including Title IX training for all members of the campus community and diversity awareness training, among many others.