Board of Governors Hosts Safety and Security Summit
The Board of Governors and State University System brought together leaders from all 12 of Florida’s public universities on Monday and Tuesday to share best practices for avoiding, preparing for and dealing with crisis situations on campus, from student mental health challenges to cybersecurity.
Hosted by the University of South Florida in Tampa, the Summit included roughly 100 university leaders, including presidents, administrators, police chiefs, government relations, and communications staff. Speakers included Dr. Larry Barton, one of the world’s leading experts in crisis management and threat assessment, and retired Vice Admiral Mike McConnell, who is chair of the Board of Advisors at the Florida Center for CyberSecurity. Stakeholders also heard from FBI Supervisory Special Agent Cari Robins, who is at the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, Behavioral Threat Assessment Center, and assesses stalking cases.
“Students come to universities to learn and prepare for their careers, but they can only do that if they are in a safe and healthy environment,” said Norm Tripp, chair of the Board of Governors’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee. “That means we need to stay focused on the mental health issues that are facing so many of our students in addition to other security threats.”
The Board of Governors and State University System regularly convene stakeholders to discuss strategies for facing security threats. This year’s Summit is especially important because of the Board of Governors’ work over the past year to raise awareness about student mental health issues and the growing need for counselors. In fact, the Board of Governors is asking each university to develop a plan for how to address mental health needs on their campuses, which have skyrocketed in recent years, in line with national trends. Florida’s counselor-to-student ratio is lower than national recommendations.
The Summit also included panel discussions on cybersecurity, protests on campus, and crisis management. Toward the event’s end, participants had the chance to debrief and discuss next steps, including best practices to take home to their campuses.
“The purpose of this Summit is to hear from the people who have their boots on the ground every day and have concerns about our students’ mental health, their security, and how to deal with a crisis should one arise,” said Tom Kuntz, Board of Governors’ Chair. “We hope every participant goes back to his or her home campus with new inspiration and ideas, and we look forward to continuing to receive feedback on how the Board of Governors can help advocate for critical safety and security needs at the state level.”
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Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Board of Governors
The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The system has 12 universities and more than 341,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the system’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the system’s chief executive. For more, visit flbog.edu, think-florida.org,or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.