Michigan Tech Earns an A for Campus Safety

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Michigan Technological University has earned top marks for safety preparedness in a Reader’s Digest survey of 135 colleges and universities. Michigan Tech ranked third in the nation among 45 campuses that received an “A” rating, based on its readiness to handle on-campus threats to safety and security.

The monthly magazine, which reaches more than 100 million readers worldwide, reports on the survey on its website and in the March issue of the magazine, which is scheduled to hit news stands on February 19.

“We’ve worked very hard to make our campus a safe community,” said Jon Ahola, director of public safety at Michigan Tech. “It’s been a cooperative effort involving many different departments at the university, and it’s gratifying to hear that we seem to be doing a good job.”

After the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech last year, Reader’s Digest invited 291 top colleges and universities to take part in a survey to see how well prepared they were to handle safety and security issues. Less than half agreed to participate.

The magazine gave the schools grades of A, B or C, based on their answers to 20 campus safety questions. The questions were prepared in consultation with campus safety experts and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Questions included whether student residences have full-time security, cameras, sprinkler systems and smoke detectors on each floor. It looked at whether parking lots are monitored by cameras, whether there is an emergency response plan and emergency notification system in place, and whether discussions of binge drinking, drug use and rape prevention are part of freshman orientation.

Michigan Tech was able to answer yes to each of those questions.

Les Cook, vice president for student affairs, called the survey results significant. "For students, and even more so for parents, knowing that Michigan Tech is the safest campus in Michigan and the third safest in the country is extremely important," he said.

The magazine’s survey took into consideration variables such as size and location. Several schools in urban areas ranked better than some schools in smaller communities, suggesting that preparedness has more to do with planning and appropriate allocation of resources than it does geographical setting, the magazine’s editors said. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., ranked number one in the nation. Northeastern University in Boston ranked number two, and Michigan Tech was number three.

The report, “Safe at School,” also features questions that parents and students should ask about safety when visiting a campus.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.