Threats at Community Colleges

Threats at Community Colleges

April 22, 2013

Recent attacks at community colleges have highlighted the particular challenges faced by such institutions in preventing tragedies. On April 12, a student at New River Community College, near Virginia Tech, shot two people at the college's branch located in a shopping mall about 20 miles away from the main campus. The victims are allegedly a student at the college and a part-time employee. Both remain hospitalized and in stable condition. On April 9, a student at Lone Star College was charged with stabbing 14 people there. In January, three people were shot in another incident at Lone Star. Also that month, three people were killed in shootings at Hazard Community and Technical College in Kentucky involving two people who had no college affiliation.

Although these incidents appear dissimilar, community colleges face some common issues different from those faced by four-year institutions. For example, community colleges often have numerous branch campuses, some with just a few classrooms, while relying on security at the facility, rather than having their own security force. Colleges may have less ability to set rules in shared facilities than they would on their main campuses. In addition, many counselors at community colleges report that they have much higher student-to-counselor ratios than do four-year institutions. A survey released last year by the American College Counseling Association's Community College Task Force found that only 7 in 10 community colleges have threat assessment teams. At Lone Star, there were only three counselors working on the campus where the stabbings took place (a campus with 18,000 students).

Threats at Community Colleges
Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed
April 15, 2013

Student Safety