For Release:
June 25, 2010

Contact: Kathy Love — 573.522.1463

Jefferson City – Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Robert Stein will be honored next month for his work to ensure safety on Missouri’s college campuses. The Missouri School Boards’ Association will present an award to Stein at the Safe Schools and Colleges Conference July 22 in Osage Beach.

Stein formed a higher education subcommittee on the Homeland Security Advisory Council to address campus safety after the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech. 

“Campus safety issues encompass more than random acts of violence,” Stein said. “We decided to address the full spectrum of challenges, including suicide prevention, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, bullying, disease and natural disasters, among other things.” His approach brought in experts from many disciplines and has led to mental health evaluation programs on several campuses in the state.

Dr. Carter Ward, executive director of the Missouri School Boards’ Association, said the award honors Stein’s commitment to collaborative approaches to address difficult issues that impact students of all ages. “We value his big picture thinking and the dedication and persistence he brought to the process,” Ward said, adding that Stein’s contributions will be missed when he retires at the end of this month.

The Missouri Safe Schools and Colleges Conference, to be held July 21 – 23 at Tan-Tar-A, is designed for anyone who works in schools and colleges, as well as law enforcement officials, fire fighters, emergency responders and health practitioners. Peace officers and reserve officers can earn POST credits for some sessions.

General sessions will focus on campus violence and suicide prevention, with breakout sessions on emergency response, dispute resolution, “sexting” and internet misuse, and others.

Stein said awareness of campus safety issues has increased, but that much work remains to address all the factors that contribute to a secure campus environment. “Students, faculty and administrators are a reflection of society as a whole, and are affected by all the problems and stresses that occur in daily life,” Stein said. “While most schools and campuses are safe, we cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to protecting those who work and study there.”