Gov. Blagojevich approves campus safety measures


Gov. Rod Blaogojevich accepted recommendations for college campus safety and security from the the Illinois Campus Security Task Force (CSTF) on Tuesday.

According to the press release from the governor’s office, Blagojevich created the task force as a result of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

“I gave it the very serious mission of developing ways that we can make Illinois campuses safer and more secure for our students,” Blagojevich said. “As we mark the two-month anniversary of the Northern Illinois University shootings and the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech incident this week, I commend the Campus Security Task Force for presenting me with a report that provides not only solid recommendations for making campuses safer, but also substantive tools to help campuses move forward in security efforts.”

According to the press release, the task force’s report was expected to be completed earlier this year, but the members decided to finalize the report to capture the initial lessons learned from the recovery and response from the NIU shootings. The members of the task force met with NIU officials a few weeks after the incident.

The recommendations from the CSTF were placed into three categories: response committee recommendations; prevention and mental health committee recommendation; and legal committee recommendations.

According to the press release, the response committee recommendations said colleges and universities should take steps to see that the first responders they will rely upon in the execution of their all-hazard plans are appropriately trained and exercised.

In addition, colleges and universities should work to develop and implement strong, internal emergency communications and notifications systems.

Colleges and universities should provide enhanced training to appropriate members of the campus community on recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness, according to the press release.

Also, universities and colleges should establish campus policies on mental health awareness and prevention activities and widely distribute mental health awareness and prevention information.

Members from the NIU administration were unavailable for comment.