The Johns Hopkins University / March 27, 1997
Next Steps and Plans for Follow-Up to the
The Committee's recommendations include a series of policy revisions, education and training initiatives, and interventions designed to prevent, to the extent possible, incidents of campus violence. We have also proposed that a more comprehensive crisis management plan be developed for Johns Hopkins so that the University is prepared to respond appropriately in the unfortunate event that we are again confronted by another incidence of violence or the kind of natural disasters and organizational traumas that have been experienced at many institutions.
Our final recommendations involve plans for monitoring the implementation of recommendations and for appropriate follow-up to ensure effectiveness and to assist other college and universities in benefiting from the Hopkins experience.
A. Dissemination of Committee Report and Wider Discussion of Recommendations.
In addition to making recommendations regarding policies and programs to protect Hopkins faculty, staff and students from violence, the Committee feels an obligation to turn the recent tragic incident that has affected our campus to some good. We therefore recommend that the University demonstrate leadership by facilitating a wider discussion of the issues addressed by the Committee on Campus Violence. We advocate several specific actions:
Recommendation 34. Publicize the Committee's report within the Johns Hopkins community. The Hopkins Gazette, HR Today (the campus publication for employees), The Newsletter (Homewood student newspaper), The Dome (Johns Hopkins Medicine publication), and The Hopkins Magazine are among the media that should be used to foster internal discussion of the Committee's report and recommendations, after the President approves its release.
Recommendation 35. Post the Report of the Committee on Campus Violence on the Internet. Linking this document to the Hopkins' home page will make it more widely available to various constituencies on the campus and to those who "browse" the site from beyond the University.
Recommendation 36. Send a copy of the Committee's report to the chief human resource and chief student affairs officers who responded to the survey at other institutions. In addition to mailing a copy of the survey results to respondents, we propose sending a copy of the Committee's full report in order to prompt others to conduct a similar analysis of their own campus situation.
Recommendation 37. Take advantage of professional meetings to share the Committee's report and to make presentations to appropriate organizations. Many of the committee members represent Hopkins to various professional or higher education associations, and these platforms should be used selectively to encourage other universities to conduct their own analyses. For example, a presentation on the issue of campus violence should be suggested as a topic for the agenda of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE), to which Hopkins belongs, along with 30 of the most selective private colleges and universities. Closer to home, the Maryland Independent Colleges and University Association (MICUA) may also benefit from distribution and discussion of the report.
B. Evaluation of the Impact of Committee Recommendations
As befits a university community, attention should be given to developing a research project that would help us determine whether our recommendations have been effective. Some of the tremendous academic resources of the University should be brought to bear on such an evaluation. For example, investigators from the School of Public Health could be enlisted to monitor the impact of the proposed interventions. It is therefore our suggestion that appropriate faculty be engaged to assist with the following project:
Recommendation 38. Design a serious study of the effects of the training, monitoring, and intervention efforts proposed in this report. If it is determined that, either singly or collectively, the actions have a positive effect on campus violence, campus administrators should consider whether this program represents a model that warrants even wider public discussion.
C. Implementation of Recommendations
It is all too often the case that committee reports generate recommendations that are endorsed without clear assignment of responsibility for seeing that they are implemented. The consequence is inaction or delay. The Committee on Campus Violence hopes to avoid this familiar scenario by offering these last three recommendations:
Recommendation 39. Assign to the appropriate administrators specific responsibility for implementation of each recommendation, and establish a timetable. In the decentralized environment of Johns Hopkins, implementation of these proposals will require the actions of a number of academic, student affairs, and human resource administrators. An important next step will be to review this report with these key constituencies. In order to ensure that prompt action is taken on those recommendations accepted by the President, we have proposed a preliminary implementation plan that identifies specific actions and those who should initiate them. (See Appendix L.)
Recommendation 40. Designate an implementation group to meet regularly and monitor the progress on implementing the Committee's recommendations. It is suggested that representatives of Human Resource administration, FASAP, Public Affairs, and Student Affairs be designated to act in this capacity and that the President charge an appropriate officer to chair this group and to be responsible to him and the Provost for progress in implementing these recommendations.
Recommendation 41. Reconvene the Committee on Campus Violence in approximately nine months in order to assess the University's progress in implementing these recommendations. The Committee should evaluate progress in addressing these issues and report to the President on its findings.
No single policy, nor any one program, nor any set of interventions will completely eliminate the threat of violent incidents. Nor will even the foremost expertise enable us to predict with certainty who may commit a violent act. Yet the Committee on Campus Violence does think that there are steps that may be taken to enhance the University's efforts and reduce the risk of harm to individuals and the community. Coupled with the policies, programs, and protocols already in place at Johns Hopkins, implementing these recommendations should help to decrease the threat of violence that is a fact of life at all workplaces and universities, including our own.
We commend our findings to the Hopkins community and urge that steps be taken to implement the Committee's recommendations as soon as possible.
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