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Lehigh earns “A” in Reader’s Digest safety survey

The Reader's Digest safety ranking is evidence of Lehigh's long-standing and ongoing commitment to campus safety.

Lehigh University was recently awarded “A” status for its campus security programs by Reader’s Digest, which ranked 135 of the nation’s top college campuses this past fall. The results of the survey, which placed Lehigh 35th, were published in the March 2008 edition of the widely distributed magazine.

The university was recognized for its efforts to provide a safe and secure campus environment that now includes a text messaging system that could be used to quickly reach members of the campus community in the event of an extreme emergency, as well as a new Emergency Preparedness Web site. That site was developed to provide a full range of resources and instructions for a number of emergency scenarios.

Lehigh shares the “A” rating with schools such as Johns Hopkins University (ranked number one in the country), Syracuse University, Boston University, New York University, Columbia University and Tufts University.

The story—titled “Safe at School?”—examined safety issues such as programs, procedures, safety equipment and crime statistics. Data were compiled from a completed questionnaire by the participating institutions and statistics provided by the
U. S. Department of Education.

Nineteen variables were used to construct the Safety Preparedness Index. Participating schools were ranked in the exact order of their preparedness, and ranked under the general grades of A, B or C.

In introducing the survey, the magazine acknowledged that “Each campus is different and its security needs are unique. Therefore, we believe it is fairer to say that certain schools are excelling in the safety arena; others are doing a good job, and some would benefit by putting more resources into campus safety and security.”

Reader’s Digest editor Peggy Northrup also noted that her magazine’s efforts to conduct a comprehensive survey and assign campus safety rankings could help prospective students and their parents make informed choices about colleges and universities.

John Smeaton, vice provost for Student Affairs at Lehigh, said that the top ranking earned by Lehigh is “evidence of our long-standing and ongoing commitment to campus safety.”

The university’s approach, he said, “is a comprehensive one that draws on our fully accredited and well-equipped police department, our residential life staff and the use of the latest technology to foster campus safety.”

For more information about the Reader’s Digest survey, go online.

--Linda Harbrecht

Photo by Ryan Donnell

Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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