If Bill Were in Place Before Wave of Threats, Pitt Could Have Received More Assistance
Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey called for swift passage of legislation that would help universities and colleges across the country respond to safety threats. After a brief respite from an outbreak of bomb threats earlier this spring, Pitt’s campus in Oakland received a new threat on Friday.
Senator Casey is calling for the passage of a bill, the CAMPUS Safety Act, which would help schools like Pitt respond to emergencies and threats. The CAMPUS Safety Act would provide more resources to schools and establish a National Center for Campus Safety, which would disseminate best practices and link schools up with security experts to offer assistance.
“What has happened at Pitt over the last few months is simply unacceptable and Congress must take steps to help schools respond,” Casey said. “Pitt’s entire team, from administrators to professors and first responders, has done incredible work under trying circumstances, but they shouldn’t have to do it alone.”
The CAMPUS Safety Act would provide universities and colleges with additional resources to fight threats on campus. Specifically, the bill would authorize the Department of Justice to establish and operate a National Center for Campus Public Safety. This first-of-its-kind center would serve as a national clearinghouse of best practices to keep colleges and universities safe. The center would enable colleges and universities to enhance officer training, conduct relevant research, develop protocols to respond to emergencies, and increase collaboration between campus law enforcement agencies.
The bill, first introduced after the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, would ensure that schools like Pitt have easy access to campus-specific emergency resources, and also that other colleges learn from the successful responses of other institutions. There would be a cost of $2.75 million, paid for by consolidating the Office of Dispute Resolution and directing the Attorney General to implement policies resulting in $1M in savings through consolidation of duplicative programs.