While state officials insist they can’t enforce a 2008 law enacted to keep college students safe, they say the one-person office charged with helping schools comply with the statute plays a vital role.
Passed in the wake of deadly shootings at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech, the Illinois Campus Security Enhancement Act requires nearly 200 higher education institutions across the state to develop emergency plans and create safety teams, as well as take other action.
Few of Illinois’ higher education institutions are following the law, says the man who served as the state’s first campus security coordinator.
“Of the private schools, I’d have to say that 90 percent of them are not in compliance,” Roy Garcia said, noting that some of the public institutions have done a better job of complying. “I’d have to say probably 75 percent of community colleges have sent in a plan.”
“Now that doesn’t mean they’ve all been approved, but they’ve sent in plans.”
Garcia said because the law contains no penalties it’s hard for state officials to force colleges and universities to follow it.
Illinois’ current campus security coordinator, Gretchen Jarrett, says she can do her job with or without the power to fine or otherwise punish schools that are out of compliance.
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