<< Back to Blog

Campus Safety Abroad

Campus Safety Abroad

Recent news about the tragic mass killing at The University of California at Santa Barbara unsettled those with an eye on higher education abroad. As an alumna of this notoriously scenic university, with its freewheeling, peace-loving ethos I have been especially rattled. We are all asking, how a young student, who is at one moment exploring new ideas and environments, making friends and living it up in the prime of his or her life, can suddenly be shot down in cold blood by a deranged, bitter maniac? There has of course been much said about the state of gun control and mental healthcare in the US since the incident. And of course there is a great need to address both of these serious issues, but on the minds of many students (and their families) who are heading abroad for studies after the summer is the question of campus safety.

The good news is that despite terrible tragedies which have occurred on US college campuses, day to day safety is a very serious concern. This is for obvious reasons – safety is important – but also because of liablity. In fact litigation is the primary driver behind most safety measures in the US. If a person is injured, assaulted, robbed or otherwise harmed on the property of another party, the injured party can justifiably sue the property-owning party (or service-providing party) in a court of law for damages. So colleges must demonstrate that they have done everything within their control to reduce the likelihood of accidents, crime and other safety problems. If they have safety precautions in place, the other party will have difficulty arguing for negligence. This situation cuts both ways though, and it is one of the primary reasons that services and institutional fees are so high in America – it costs money to take thorough safety measures.


The resources provided by campuses are varied. However as a rule, most college campuses have their own police force, which is responsible for campus safety and works in cooperation with the local police force. Serious crimes and arrests are usually handled through the local police. The campus police also often handle issues like bicycle and laptop registration (which reduces theft) recruitment and training of  student volunteers to help manage events, hosting self defence classes and a whole range of other public-safety services, depending on the campus.


Most campuses also have a night time service that ensure students have a companion when walking alone back to their room after a late night of studying or even a party. At UCSB, the student-run Campus Security Organization (CSO), which acts a liason between students and campus police, is most popularly know for assigning officers to accompany students late at night either on foot, bicycle or by car, depending on the distance. Programs like this exist at most universities in the U.S.


Despite the robust coverage and thorough considerations of safety on college campuses abroad, crimes and terrible tragedies can still occur. There is no excuse for America’s refusal to control firearms. The same can be said for countries where racial violence has been committed against Indian or Chinese students – inexcusable. But the reality is that the vast majority of students who study overseas come back with amazing exposure, lifelong friendships and valuable academic knowledege. I cannot let one madman tarnish four years of my gorgeous memories created in and around Isla Vista, and future students who aspire to study abroad shouldn’t let him rob their dreams of a world-class education. 

Enjoyed This Post? Share!
Share it on:
Get In Touch

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?