"The tragedies that occurred on the Virginia Tech and Northern
Illinois University campuses provided an unfortunate reminder that
colleges and universities are not immune to acts of senseless
violence," Blagojevich said. "This new law sets Illinois apart in
our efforts to make sure students and faculty members on college
campuses are as safe as possible."
Senate Bill 2691 creates the Campus Security Enhancement Act.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2009, all Illinois higher education institutions
will be required to develop and exercise an all-hazards emergency
response plan and an interdisciplinary, multi-jurisdictional campus
violence prevention plan. State and local emergency management
officials will assist with the development of these plans, as well
as with training and exercises related to the plans. The new law
also requires the development and implementation of a campus
violence prevention committee and campus threat assessment team.
"Colleges and universities in Illinois have long recognized the
importance of implementing measures to ensure the safety of their
students," said Andrew Velasquez III, director of the Illinois
Emergency Management Agency. "This act will strengthen those efforts
by ensuring consistency in their planning efforts and encouraging
coordination with their local emergency response agencies."
The Campus Security Enhancement Act incorporates several
recommendations presented to the governor this spring by the Campus
Security Task Force, a multidisciplinary group created by
Blagojevich in April 2007 following the tragic shootings at Virginia
Tech University. The task force included representatives of 75
organizations from the response, mental health, legal and higher
education communities. Members focused on campus safety issues
related to response, prevention and mental health, and legal issues.
In addition to the recommendations offered on those issues, the
group's comprehensive 259-page final report also included a section
outlining initial lessons learned from the response and recovery to
the shootings at the Northern Illinois University campus in DeKalb
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"Unfortunately, as we learned all too well on Feb. 14, it is
necessary for our colleges and universities to have emergency
operations plans in place, including plans to respond to campus
violence," said Northern Illinois University President John Peters.
"I commend the Illinois General Assembly and the governor for
recognizing, through the passage of this act, the importance of
adequate campus security procedures and responses to protect our
students, faculty and staff."
Blagojevich continues to push for legislative approval of another
task force recommendation that would create a $25 million Campus
Security Enhancement Grant program. The program would make available
funding for campus security response and violence prevention
training programs, projects to enhance emergency communications, and
planning and implementing of campuswide training exercises. Funding
for this initiative is included in the proposed Illinois Works
Senate Bill 2691, which was sponsored by state Sen. John
Sullivan, D-Rushville, and state Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Sycamore, was
unanimously approved by the Illinois House and Senate.
"As a parent of two children in college, I speak for all other
parents who want to have the confidence that when they send their
children to school, they will be safe," Sullivan said. "The Campus
Security Enhancement Act will make sure our colleges and
universities are prepared for a worst-case scenario."
"The recent campus tragedies illustrate the need for well-devised
emergency preparation plans on university campuses," Pritchard said.
"Faculty members and students deserve the maximum effort put forth
by institutions of higher learning to ensure their safety, and this
act directly addresses that."
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]