Millions of students are enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. While universities are not insurers of the safety of their students, faculty, staff or others in their community, university campuses are generally safe when compared to urban environments. However, tragic and infamous acts of campus violence including the rape and murder of Jeanne Clery at Lehigh University, the infamous 2007 Virginia Tech tragedy resulting in the death of thirty-three and, more recently, the alleged murders of three colleagues by faculty member Amy Bishop provide evidence and anecdotes that the risk of campus violence remains high. This risk imposes a duty upon the university to exercise reasonable care in creating and implementing methods, policies and procedures designed to create as safe and secure a campus environment as possible, without compromising or invading the privacy rights of those it seeks to protect. Two of the major methods discussed involve video surveillance and monitoring of e-mail and other electronic communications. The article also discusses the impact of federal, state and common law on these and other methods employed by the university. Relevant cases are also presented to illustrate concepts and potential legal problems, including a recent high-profile event at Boston College. The article concludes with a list of suggestions that universities should consider when working to create a safer campus.
- electronic communications,
- Virginia Tech,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jonathan_darrow/5/