“What are the police like on this campus?” It’s not a question that we get too frequently, however, with current events it’s a question that we as admissions professionals need to be prepared to answer. While the majority of admissions personnel can recite facts about campus safety from rote memorization, it is imperative to dive deeper into what it is that your respective institution’s campus safety looks like. There are a variety of ways that admissions professionals can learn more about their institutions’ campus safety department. These include but are not limited to inviting campus safety to speak with admissions staff at an admissions meeting, inviting campus safety to participate at an admissions open house event, or reaching out to see if shadowing a campus safety officer is an option for staff members. Through forming a partnership with campus safety, admissions staff can increase their own knowledge about how their institutions’ campus safety works. There are also broader initiatives that can be discussed with a prospective student, such as ways that campus safety engages with the university community.
Schools such as Ohio State University utilize Facebook and Twitter to engage their communities via social media. Using these outlets, the police are able to engage their campus community and quickly update them on pertinent situations. Ohio University’s Coffee with a Cop program is a discussion forum where students are able to speak with the Ohio University Police Department and get to know who the officers are and how they plan on keeping Ohio University’s campus safe. Through this program, students are able to get to know the campus officers on a more personal level. Rutgers University has recently implemented a new program, Text to RUPD, where students are able to text the police for non-emergency situations.
As an admissions professional it is important to not only know statistics and facts about your intuitions’ campus safety department, but also know how the department works to engage with the community. Being knowledgeable about opportunities for students to engage with campus safety (outside of a crisis situations) is a strong talking point for addressing students concerns when it comes to campus safety.