MAY 16, 2007

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UCO President Webb testifies at Senate hearing on campus security

University of Central Oklahoma President W. Roger Webb testified on April 23 in Washington, D.C., before the U.S. Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs at a hearing titled “Security on America’s College Campuses.”

Webb was among several people asked to testify to help answer questions about security preparations on college campuses and procedures in place for responding to troubled students.

“I am keenly aware of the tension that exists on virtually every campus between the security mindset and the academic desire for an open environment. Such tensions require careful judgments because both sides have valid concerns,” Webb told the committee.

“Universities have to weigh the rights of the individuals against the safety concerns of the community. Balancing the rights of individual students while protecting the university body at large is a particularly complex task.”

Webb also announced to the committee that UCO, along with the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, would host a National Campus Security Summit on the UCO campus on May 30.

“I am urging today that we as a nation, and particularly our nation’s campuses, become aware of security materials that already exist and take advantage of training opportunities that prepare us to handle the unexpected event and, hopefully, prevent it from occurring in the first place through training, education and preventive assessments,” Webb said.

Webb’s professional career began in law enforcement, where he served with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and as Commissioner of Public Safety for the State of Oklahoma.

Among other organizations, Webb is a member of the Board of Directors for MIPT, a trust that was created by Congress after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing to collect and document data and conduct research on the threat of terrorism throughout the world.

Webb also is the author of “Our College Campuses are Vulnerable to Terrorism,” a paper written in 2003, intended for a select group of college and university presidents that may have considered the possibility that their campuses might sometime become the target of a terrorist attack. The paper was published by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and Webb has presented the paper on several college and university campuses throughout the U.S.

Webb was named the nineteenth president of UCO in July 1997. Previously, he was president of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He is currently the longest-serving university president in Oklahoma.

Webb—along with Stephen Healey, President of IACLEA, and head of campus security at Princeton University; David Ward, president of ACE and former Chancellor of University of Wisconsin; Dr. Russ Federman, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia; and Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health—testified before the committee, chaired by Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Contact: Charles Johnson, UCO, (405) 974-2315