Sep 21st, 2010 @ 8:51 am | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley, VCSU President
The early stages of a new academic year present an ideal time to discuss campus safety at Valley City State University. The campus environment at VCSU, along with the community of Valley City, are very safe places for our students to live, learn, grow, and develop while they are in college. Each year, VCSU compiles crime statistics as required by federal regulations, and the data from our campus confirms the safe environment for our students.

The safety and security of VCSU students is a top priority, and, as such, we constantly monitor various factors associated with student safety. A number of enhancements have been made during the past few years to make the campus a more secure setting. Lighting upgrades have been made across campus to provide a brighter, more secure environment during the night hours. Each fall, members of VCSU's Facilities Services and Student Affairs staff join our Student Senate to walk the campus and identify ways to make it safer. The installation of additional lights, coupled with the removal of some tall shrubs, are a few of the results of these campus walks resulting in a safer nighttime environment. Also, VCSU has added extra security cameras to a variety of locations, and now has nearly 30 cameras installed across campus.

The residence halls at VCSU are safe places for our students to live. All of the residence halls that house VCSU students have doors that are locked 24-hours a day. The only residents that have keys to access the buildings are the students who reside in the halls. Some other universities do not have 24-hour secure buildings, thereby allowing anyone to gain access to the buildings during the daytime. This building security is another step at VCSU to ensure student safety.

Other steps resulting from initiatives of the North Dakota University System have been implemented at VCSU. One such measure includes required criminal history background checks for certain categories of employees. This includes those hired in positions with access to the residence halls, as well as security officers, coaches, administrators, custodians, and other such individuals with broad access to campus buildings.

Another system-wide initiative relates to emergency notification systems. Each campus now has in place an emergency notification system (called NotiFind at VCSU) in order to quickly contact or send messages to employees and students in the event of an emergency. Individuals can be contacted immediately with phone calls to land lines and cell phones, email alerts, and text messages.

All of these enhancements have been implemented in an effort to increase the overall safety and security on campus. In addition to these upgrades, VCSU enjoys a close working relationship with local law enforcement agencies, especially the Valley City Police Department. The VCPD is a strong and important partner, and this successful relationship is a critical aspect to our overall security program. VCSU provides a safe environment in which our students can live and learn, and we will continue identifying additional ways to further efforts in these important areas.