One new initiative that was created by the Office of the Dean of Students in response to Virginia Tech is the Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL), 512-232-5050. The 24-hour phone service provides support, advice and referrals to students, faculty and staff with concerns about the behavior of a member of the university community.
“The best weapon to prevent a Virginia Tech is the BCAL hotline,” said university Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom. “We get calls and check into people on possession issues. We get about five to eight a month.”
The tip line worked on April 15 when a student called to report seeing another student carrying a gun on campus. The student was then arrested.
The university’s security efforts were measured this spring when Reader’s Digest surveyed 135 colleges and universities about their readiness to handle on-campus threats to safety and security. The university ranked sixth out of 135 schools and received a grade of A.
The Top 10 schools in order were Johns Hopkins University, Northeastern University, Michigan Technological University, University of Kentucky, The University of Texas at Austin, Syracuse University, Washington University in St. Louis, Birmingham Southern College and Seattle University.
The only other Texas school that was surveyed was Texas A&M University, which ranked 133 with a grade of C.
Several urban schools rated higher on campus safety than many schools in suburban areas or smaller cities, emphasizing that preparedness has more to do with appropriate allocation of resources and less to do with geographical setting.
In the past year the university has spent about $660,000 on its major security projects and is working on securing $250,0000 for another project that would place locks inside all classroom doors.
The full survey results can be seen at www.rd.com, along with the methodology used.