Ask The Safety Basics

Questions To Take With You On College Tours

Besides the considerations of academic record and faculty qualifications, parents and prospective students should also consider safety when choosing an institution of higher learning. Here are some specific questions for campus officials to carry with you on campus visits.

Campus Alcohol Policy:

Is the college president providing visible, consistent and strong leadership on the issue of alcohol consumption and abuse? Do all members of the college community understand that the development and enforcement of effective policies has unwavering administrative support?

What are the college's policies regarding alcohol and other drug use? How are those policies disseminated and enforced?

What percentage of students join fraternities or sororities? What is the school doing to monitor substance abuse within the Greek system? What is the college's policy regarding alcohol advertising or other alcohol-sponsored activities on campus?

What proportion of the athletic budget comes from the alcohol industry?

Will the administration inform parents if their son or daughter is disciplined or arrested for alcohol or other drug-related infractions?

How much funding does the school provide for recreational activities that do not include alcohol?

Has the college joined with local community leaders, law enforcement personnel and businesses to curtail student access to alcohol?

What services are available for students with their own or a family problem with alcohol or other drugs? Are the services confidential?

What training do residential advisers have in identifying and communicating with students who may have alcohol or drug problems?

Safety Measures On Sexual Assault

What is the school's policy regarding sexual misconduct? Do officials have information available about the prevalence of sexual assault, the circumstances in which it commonly occurs, what to do if it happens, university sanctions, campus resources, and prevention strategies?

How does the school define sexual misconduct? Does it provide the campus community with a clear definition of the behaviors that constitute sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct that the university considers unacceptable and sanctionable?

What are the campus security measures? Do the measures include adequate lighting, effective residence hall security systems, escort services, timely notifications of reported crimes, and ongoing information campaigns?

What is the school's protocol for managing reported cases? Is there an outline of how the school will respond when incidents of sexual misconduct are reported, including who will be notified, what procedures will be implemented, and how the rights of victims and accused students will be protected?

Is there a system in place for gathering and disseminating information about sexual misconduct?
Does the college or university institute comprehensive educational programs about sexual assault tha reach all members of the campus community?

Has the college or university established comprehensive services for victims of sexual assault?

Does the student conduct code specifically addresses the problem of sexual assault? Does it include a strong prohibition against sexual misconduct, a clear definition of the school's jurisdiction in these cases, and a listing of the rights and protections the school affords both victims and accused students?

Fire Safety

Are students provided with a program for fire safety and prevention?

Does the school maintain and regularly test smoke alarms and fire alarm systems, and replace smoke alarm batteries every semester? Are residence buildings equipped with sprinkler systems?

Do residence buildings conduct fire drills and practice escape routes and evacuation plans?

What is the frequency of false alarms in the residence facilities?


Does the school have a policy on hazing? If so, how is hazing defined and to whom does the policy apply?

Sources: U.S. Dept. of Education; Dept. of Justice Violence Against Women Office; FEMA/U.S. Fire Administration;

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