acpa position on Campus Safety

A principal concern to all college student educators and student affairs professionals has long been the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff on university and college campuses around the world. ACPA is committed to learning more about our role in disseminating information to our members on this serious public health concern. With legislation affecting institutions in states where it is now legal to conceal carry, this conversation is heightened.

Nationally representative studies show that students are facing high numbers of sexual assault on college campuses, and many administrators struggle to understand their role in this fight. Under the Clery Act of 1990, federally funded universities and colleges must report crime and provide support for victims. This and other federal legislation make the issue of campus safety relevant for all institutions of higher education.

In a call to action released on January 5th, 2017 former Vice President Joe Biden encouraged University Presidents, Chancellors, and Senior Administrators to “step up on sexual assault.” This report also called attention to inequalities among demographics; 1 in 4 transgender students and 1 in 3 bisexual students experience sexual assault.

On May 6th, 2020 former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos outlined new procedural requirements and definitions for sexual harassment, narrowing the definition to a higher bar than used for other civil rights laws, with a compliance deadline of August 14, 2020. By June, 2020, seventeen states, the District of Columbia, and ACUI sued DeVos for these changes, citing concerns that they will stifle student reporting.

Much of this work requires institutional investment in facilities, training, and resources for students, faculty, and staff experiencing any safety concern, including sexual violence. Institutions should prioritize prevention efforts and clearly define policies and programing to ensure all students, faculty, and staff are aware of the available resources as well as the repercussions violators may face.

ACPA College Student Educators-International is an association founded on respect and human dignity. We continue to encourage our community in the field of higher education and student affairs to work proactively to change campus culture, end stigma, and protect students, faculty, and staff on college campuses around the world.

Additional resources on this issue:


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