Governor Abbott Orders Immediate Action To Ensure Safety Of College Campuses In Texas
Governor Greg Abbott today sent a letter to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Commissioner Raymund Paredes, calling for immediate action to address and ensure the safety of Texas' college campuses following the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In the letter, Governor Abbott outlines a number of steps to be immediately taken by the THECB to help Texas colleges better respond to and prevent such tragedies.
"We must act expeditiously and prudently to ensure that college campuses in Texas are safe places to study, work, and live,” Governor Abbott wrote. “These are important first steps to ensuring that junior college districts are meeting all requirements and have the best information available to help keep their campuses safe. Texas will continue to evaluate and improve our approach to ensure our students are safe."
Governor Abbott's letter outlines the following steps:
- Catalog and share all available information from TSSC on college campus safety, and distribute this information to all public junior college districts and universities. Also, distribute this information to private and proprietary institutions of higher education.
- Ensure that all public junior college districts are in compliance with statutorily required school safety audits and multi-hazard emergency operations plans. Specifically, ensure school safety audits have been submitted to TSSC, contain a multi-hazard emergency operations plan, and cover all school facilities, both instructional and non-instructional.
- Publish on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Website and via agency press release a list of any public junior college districts that do not satisfy the requirements of their 2015 audit referenced in point two above within 45 days of notice by THECB.
- Ensure that all public junior college districts have made satisfactory progress toward completion of their statutorily required safety and security audits, due September 15, 2018. In light of recent events, encourage early submission of these audits to TSSC.
- Work with TSSC, the Department of Public Safety, and my office to draft recommendations to the Texas Legislature on policy changes to keep students safe
The Governor recently ordered similar action to address the safety of high schools in the state.