Attention: All Higher Education Chancellors, Presidents, Boards, Regents, Vice Presidents, etc. this court decision may be have just set a very important precedent for all Higher Education institutions when it comes to Preventing violence.
Tyrell K. Okoro, 23, was awarded $823,869 for non-economic damages and $76,131 for medical expenses by a Baltimore jury on Sept. 7.
Okoro’s complaint argued that, the university and its police officers “should have known that its failure to properly address violent crime on its campus had created an environment that would subject its students, including Okoro, to an unreasonable risk that they would become the victim of violent crime.”
Okoro’s lawyers cited other instances of violence on the campus as evidence that the University failed to protect its students. The university settled another lawsuit with a former student who was beaten by a non-student on campus in 2014.
It is not difficult to “connect the dots” and see how this court case, and future cases like it will impact the bigger picture universities face, because you know how attorneys use previous court cases as precedents (this was evident in the case above as well).
If you are a stakeholder at your Higher Education institution and if your institution had previous instances of violence, then any future incidents of violence could lead to expensive hits to your bottom line as well as reputation, insurability, safety ratings, new enrollment numbers, and numerous other consequences – and even more costly, could be instances of violence that escalate into a tragic instance where lives are ruined and/or lost.
It is absolutely critical for Higher Education Administrators to know the facts when it comes to their conventional security and conventional policies. No matter how much money you spend on security products and security assessments, security and policies are not equipping or improving your institution’s ability to PREVENT PREVENTABLE incidents – and according to overwhelming evidence, most incidents were PREVENTABLE.
What actions SHOULD Higher Education Administrators be taking??
Immediately perform a Prevention Assessment. Why? Because you need to Prevent incidents BEFORE they happen, and waiting until something happens, is too late.
To Prevent instances of violence, your institution needs to achieve all 6 Essential Steps of Preventing, which requires your institution must be equipped to “collect all the pieces of the puzzle” (incidents, concerning behaviors, suspicious activities, social media threats, etc.), from all the different “dots” (students, faculty, staff, law enforcement, mental health, family, friends, ex-friends, ex-spouses, neighbors, and community members), and all the different “silo systems” (Student Records Systems, Student Conduct Systems, Security Systems, HR Systems, EAP Systems, Legal Systems, Paper, Spreadsheets, etc.), and all the different Social Media websites…
Connecting the Dots… Because ALL institutions have incidents of violence, and because of this court case, if your institution is NOT equipped to collect, assess, and connect “pieces of the puzzle” from all these “dots and silos”, your institution better be ready to dig deep into your pockets and conscience, for future settlements.