Higher education has traditionally been equated to an “open” culture. Because of that, colleges and universities are potential terrorist targets because they feature a high concentration of young people and valuable infrastructure protected by a minimal amount of security. College and university campuses are essentially open environments and very few security measures can be easily implemented. The lack of environmental restraint makes campuses inviting targets. Campuses are easily accessible and convenient places for potential terrorists to hide because they can blend in with students. In addition, campuses also contain many hazardous materials in their advanced research labs, adding to the threat of injury or property damage both by accidental occurrences and intentional sabotage, or theft of dangerous materials.
For purposes of this initial report, the types of human-initiated crises are a mass shooting by a hostile intruder; bombing or explosion by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED); unauthorized entry; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive (CBRNE) terrorism; agro-terrorism, including food and water contamination; and cyber-terrorism.

The Task Force, through its subcommittees, reviewed and inventoried various campus procedures, read numerous reports, and participated in several webinars. Also, best practices currently in place at Missouri State University’s benchmark institutions and other higher education institutions were reviewed. Some information was liberally borrowed from the EDUCAUSE webinar on May 3, 2007, and the Final Report on Study and Demonstration of Emergency Communication Systems for Florida University and Community College Campuses.