Governors State University is the 8th Safest Campus in the Country; Safest in Illinois
GSU ranks as the safest public university campus in Illinois according to the Annual Security and Fire Report, a publication of information and statistics required by federal law.
How does a university located in Chicago’s south suburbs have one of the safest campuses in the country, and the safest in Illinois? According to Governors State University’s Chief of Police James McGee, it takes dedicated police officers, personal relationships between police and the people they protect, and a diligent community willing to keep their school safe.
GSU ranks as the safest public university campus in Illinois according to the Annual Security and Fire Report, a publication of information and statistics required by federal law. GSU was honored again in December when it was ranked 8th in the 50 Safest Colleges in America for schools with at least 5,000 students by BackgroundChecks.org, a website devoted to public safety and knowledge. The rankings were created using public safety data from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, which keeps statistics on campus crime.
The ranking is even more impressive considering the changes that were occurring on campus. The addition of underclassmen and a residential facility meant more people on campus at more hours during the day. Yet, despite what Chief McGee described as a “learning curve” for his 15 officers, the campus remained safe. One of the reasons campus crime is so low, McGee said, is because of the police department’s presence, both inside the buildings and outside in the parking lots. That presence, he said gives the community a sense of well-being.
The GSU police are on duty 24/7 and provide escort services day and night to make sure students and faculty are safe getting to their cars or to Prairie Place. In the event of an emergency, McGee said blue light phones are available in all the parking lots, at Prairie Place, and at all the building entrances. As a continuing effort to involve the campus community in safety issues, he said the department works with Student Life and the Provost’s Office to address the concerns of students and faculty.
“Safety is of primary importance at Governors State University. We are proud to have been cited as one of the safest campuses in America. Chief James McGee and his officers work hard every day to keep our campus safe and to educate our students about measures they can take to increase their own safety. Many thanks to all for exemplary work,” said GSU President Elaine P. Maimon.
The due diligence of the police department with a strong community involvement in safety measures adds up to a campus that can defy odds and become an oasis of safety in stormy times. But, McGee noted, the work is never done. “It is an ongoing challenge to keep the campus safe and one that I enjoy. The campus has grown and the needs of the campus have grown. But you must have relationships with the people you are protecting and they must remain involved in order for us all to remain safe,” he said.