January 9, 2019

Supporting Student Veterans on Campus
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates more than one million people (PDF) accessed their education program benefits in 2016. With nearly 17 million students in undergraduate programs that same year, a significant population of veterans or veterans' families are attending college or taking advantage of other educational opportunities. Many institutions of higher education (IHEs) are providing support and specific programming to benefit this population. There are resources available to assist in those efforts, some of which are discussed below.
The VA Campus Toolkit provides faculty, staff, and administrators resources to support student veterans. The aim is to help campuses welcome student veterans by recognizing who they are, and understanding their unique experiences, adjustments, and needs. The toolkit was created by a VA center for excellence, the National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, in conjunction with the Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership Initiative.
The toolkit covers topics such as who are today's student veterans, what are common adjustment experiences, and what you can do to help as a member of the faculty, staff, administration or student body. Information is provided on how to show support for veterans, how to make your syllabus veteran friendly, and additional online resources for veterans include managing distress, getting help, understanding post-traumatic stress disorder, and understanding benefits on campus.
Additional resources of value to IHEs to support their student veterans include:
  • Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions (PDF): This toolkit from the American Council on Education functioned from 2012 to 2016 as an online resource designed to help IHEs build effective programs for military-connected students.
  • VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC): This VA program helps service members, veterans, and eligible dependents succeed in their educational goals. This fact sheet (PDF) outlines requirements for being a VSOC school and details how to request a VSOC Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor on your campus. VSOC counselors provide vocational testing, educational and career counseling, support and assistance, and adjustment counseling to complete education programs and find employment.
  • Welcome Back: Veterans Transition to Academic Life: The Ohio State University Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery recently hosted this webinar to enable participants to understand challenges student veterans face, what IHEs can do to improve retention and graduation rates for student veterans, and what services the VA provides.
  • Serving Student Veterans: Campus Drug Prevention worked with national expert on college substance misuse prevention and veteran, Dave Closson, to outline some thoughts from his experience as a student veteran who is now working in substance misuse prevention.
A new report (PDF) by Veterans Education Success identifies key findings on the demographics of veterans who left without a degree, factors contributing to non-completion, and implications for non-completion. In its conclusion (page 25), the report offers several recommendations to help veterans meet their higher education goals.

Register today!
Reminder: January 2019 Webinar Coming Up
There is still time to register for our first webinar of 2019! The Importance of Learning from Averted and Completed School Attacks , a 90-minute webinar, will be held on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 2 PM ET, and will feature three guest presenters: The  National Police Foundation's (NPF) Project Director Dr. Frank Straub;  International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Director of Government and External Relations Jeff Allison; and Executive Director and Founder of the Koshka Foundation Kristina Anderson.
Frank and Jeff will provide an overview of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office)-funded Averted School Violence (ASV) database and its application to higher education. The ASV database is used to collect, analyze, and share information on both averted and completed acts of violence in schools that have occurred post-Columbine. Frank will share key findings from the ASV database and from an NPF study that compared averted incidents of school violence to completed incidents. Kristina, a Virginia Tech shooting survivor, will share lessons learned from the Virginia Tech shooting. For more information and to register, please visit our website .

Stay tuned for more information on our February 19th webinar, Unmanned Aircraft Systems on Campus.

What is human trafficking
Learn more about what human trafficking is from the Blue Campaign infographic.
Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and January 11 is "Wear Blue Day- a day devoted to spreading awareness about and stopping the hidden crime of modern slavery, which traps millions of men, women, and children in the United States and around the world. People in college and university campus communities can play a key role in thwarting this crime.
Globally , an estimated 40.3 million people are victims of human trafficking. About 25% of the victims are children, and in the United States one in seven endangered runaways is likely to become a sex trafficking victim. Criminals make about $150 billion a year from human trafficking.
Human trafficking can be hard to notice, especially in campus communities, where many students are in new surroundings. According to the Department of Homeland Security, common signs of human trafficking include:
  • Disconnections from family, friends, community organizations, or worship
  • Missing school
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Engagement in commercial sex acts
  • Disorientation, confusion, or signs of mental or physical abuse
  • Bruises in various stages of healing
  • Fearful, timid, or submissive behavior
  • Signs of being denied food, water, sleep, or medical care
  • Accompaniment by someone to whom the person defers or who seems to control the situation
  • Appearance of being coached
  • Living in unsuitable conditions
  • Lack of personal possessions
  • Inability to come and go, or unreasonable security measures in the home 
College and university campuses can be major recruitment hotspots for traffickers since many students are from other states. College students can have less parental involvement in their daily activities, which can make them a target. Awareness and prevention efforts can help, including:
  • Downloading the Blue Campaign College & University Toolkit (PDF), which has tips and resources for raising awareness on campus
  • Shining blue lights on campus landmarks on January 11
  • Wearing blue clothing on January 11 and using the #WearBlueDay hashtag
  • Scheduling trainings to help staff, faculty, students, and community members identify victims of human trafficking
  • Getting free materials from the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign to help educate the campus community about how to detect and report human trafficking
  • Participating in or hosting prevention- and awareness-related webinars, forums, and social media events throughout the month
  • Helping victims learn about federal services available to them
You can report human trafficking by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, via live chat at humantraffickinghotline.org (this website is available in Spanish), or by texting "HELP" or "INFO" to 233733 ("BeFree"). Campus officials interested in gaining additional insight into what human trafficking is and how to recognize it can view our free, on-demand webinar, Human Trafficking: What Your Campus Needs to Know.

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: NHTRC & HHS Online Trainings
Organization: National Human Trafficking Resource Center and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dates: Various
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: School Certifying Official-Focused Webinars
Organization: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • January 16, 2019 at 2:00PM ET
  • January 23, 2019 at 2:00PM ET
  • January 30, 2019 at 2:00PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: Comprehensive Jeanne Clery Act Training
Organization: Clery Center
Dates: February 4-6, 2019
Location: Orlando, FL
Fee: Registration fee

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar

Virtual Professional Development
Through our Virtual Professional Development initiative, you can access free, online educational opportunities.
Campus Public Safety Online
Learn about our free webinar series, register for upcoming webinars, and view archived recordings on demand.
Emerging Issues Forum Reports
Download, print, and share findings from critical issues forums of campus public safety leaders, subject matter experts, and practitioners.

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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