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Everyone on a College or University campus recognizes the importance of a safe learning environment.

It is difficult to name and describe every office on any campus, but the following four offices or functions are found on almost any campus, no matter how big or how small. In describing each of them, we discuss potential names for these offices along with the typical services that each of them provides.

University Police Department

Every College and University has an office or personnel dedicated to keeping the campus safe. On larger public institutions, they may be a fully functioning police department with sworn officers and holding cells; smaller private schools may employ part-time security guards or collaborate with local law enforcement offices. It’s important for you as a parent to familiarize yourself with who at your child’s campus is tasked with keeping your student safe. These offices typically provide the following services on campus:

  • Complying with an Institution’s reporting requirements under the Clery Act.
  • Consistently monitoring the campus through in-person and consistent rounds and/or through security cameras.
  • Enforcing trespass orders which prohibit certain people from being on campus.
  • Collaborating with local law enforcement to keep the campus and community safe.
  • Providing or co-hosting self-defense classes.

Title IX Office / Office of Equity and Compliance

Title IX is a federal law which prohibits sex-based discrimination in educational activities. Although this law was initially confined to athletic programs, it has more recently been broadened to encompass preventing sexual violence. Every institution must designate a Title IX Coordinator tasked with overseeing the all requirements related to Title IX and campus sexual assault. On smaller campuses this person may have multiple jobs at the institution and on larger campuses, this is often a distinct and full-time position which is part of a larger office which may be named the Office of Equity and Compliance. These offices typically provide the following services on campus:

  • Responsible for stopping, remedying, and preventing instances of campus sexual violence.
  • Provide yearly training for students and employees on preventing sexual violence.
  • Investigate all reported instances of sexual violence.  The exact process may look different based on the people involved, the type and severity of the allegation, and the location of the incident(s).
  • On larger campuses, the Office of Equity and Compliance may house or closely collaborate with a Women’s Resource Center or Victim’s Advocacy Center.

Health and Wellness Center

College campuses are committed to providing services and resources to support a student’s mental and physical health. Supporting a student’s physical health can consist of large health complexes at larger schools or innovative partnerships with urgent care clinics on smaller campuses. These offices typically provide the following services on campus:

  • Institutions have recognized the rising epidemic of student mental health concerns and usually employ multiple professional counselors to meet with students. These counselors may be professionally licensed or graduate students and the number of free sessions provided will also vary by institution. This information will be provided on a school’s website or through their Open House and recruitment events.

Either on their own or in collaboration with other office, health and wellness offices often hire student peer educators to assist with violence prevention efforts.

Dr. Neil Best has been working in Higher Ed for almost 20 years. He received his PhD from Azusa Pacific University in Higher Education and his dissertation explored on the campus climate predictors of sexual assault victimization. He has professional experience working in the areas of Equity and Compliance, Diversity and Inclusion, Residence Life, Student Engagement, Leadership Development, and Student Conduct. He currently serves as Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Civil Rights Investigator at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His research interests focus on student success and sexual violence prevention and he has taught classes on Student Success, Student Conduct, and Research Methods. In his free time, he loves exploring the great state of Alaska with his partner and three young daughters.