The Academy for Critical Incident Analysis, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has been established with the support of the Dart Foundation, to promote and disseminate scholarly research relating to the emergence, management and consequences of critical incidents. ACIA sponsors scholarship and research, hosts conferences and symposiums, and maintains research archives of incident records. ACIA also supports the development and dissemination of course curricula and supporting media for the teaching of critical incident analysis, and supports related instruction at the graduate and undergraduate level at John Jay College.

During the summer of 2009, ACIA gathered with faculty and staff from Virginia Polytechnic Institute to examine the incident aftermath dynamics through the lens of the April 16, 2007 campus shooting. Insights emerged during the conference about the importance of communication between security personnel, mental health professions and college administrators. The conference  explored how such communication can be enhanced, and how to strike a balance between privileged and public information when safety is at stake.

Deliberations at a two-day meeting organized by the Academy for Critical Incident Analysis suggest that among those responsible for campus safety and students’ well being, many would answer yes — that better communication is, indeed, the key to more effective violence prevention and, consequently, a lower risk of harm to students, faculty and staff at American institutions of higher education.

The meeting, held March 11-12 on the Columbia University campus, brought together administrators, directors of student life and counseling services, and public safety officials from a half-dozen institutions in the New York area, along with a number of other experts and observers. Virginia Tech University was also represented, as the site of the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history and also as the subject of ACIA’s last case-study conference, held in July, 2009, in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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