WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–July 31, 2009. Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $7 million in funding for colleges and universities to support their emergency management and campus safety efforts. The money will be used for a program passed into law last year and based on Durbin’s legislation, the Campus Law Enforcement Emergency Response Act, which will help ensure that all colleges and universities develop emergency response procedures and campus notification systems, and test them on at least an annual basis.
“After the terrible tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, it was clear that we needed to address the vulnerability of students in college,” said Durbin. “Today’s funding will support this important campus safety program that will protect college students and their families from threats to their security. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to see it enacted into law.”
Today’s funding was included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Act passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee late last night. The program aims to improve dissemination of information to colleges and universities about emergency management planning; to provide grants for training, technical assistance and risk assessments; and to help colleges and universities acquire the technology they need for effective emergency response systems. The funding must now be approved by the full House and Senate.
After the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007, Durbin and then Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) introduced the Campus Law Enforcement Emergency Response Act, legislation that sought to ensure that colleges and universities were prepared to respond to emergencies on campus. The need for this legislation was reinforced by the Northern Illinois University shooting in February 2008 as well as other tragic incidents at colleges across the country. Key provisions from Durbin’s legislation were included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which passed the Congress and became law in August 2008. The enacted provisions from the Durbin legislation include provisions that:
- Strengthen the safety and security of college and university campuses by requiring that each school develop emergency response procedures and campus notification systems and test them on at least an annual basis;
- Combine the resources of the Departments of Education, Justice and Homeland Security to provide colleges and universities with emergency response expertise, guidance and best practices; and
- Authorize funding to help colleges and universities develop and improve their emergency response procedures and notification systems.
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