A safer social network

DPS reveals new campus-wide threat assessment tools

Ferris’ Department of Public Safety (DPS) is making many changes in their efforts toward keeping the campus a safe place for students.

Ferris DPS has implemented new campuswide software technology designed to alert DPS when a violent threat may be imminent. The software — a monitoring tool called Social Sentinel — monitors social media around the clock, notifying appointed officials via email any time threatening keywords targeted toward students, campus or the user’s self are posted online.

“Obviously if we can keep a bad thing from happening, that’s desirable for everyone,” Ferris Director of Public Safety Bruce Borkovich said

Although this news may be unsettling to some students, Borkovich ensures that it does not illegally or improperly invade anyone’s privacy. The technology simply scans for keywords such as “kill,” “bomb” or “shoot,” for example.

This technology was funded in part through raising the prices of commuter parking passes by $30 from $100 to $130. Many students are in support of the extra cash going towards safety for students and staff.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Ferris biotechnology senior Ethan Tippett said. “Coming to Ferris I knew it was always Ferris’ initiative for safety, and I really appreciated that coming here. I guess in the long run I would rather pay for more protection than risk having any sort of major crisis happen to me or any of my friends.”

Although not all students are happy with the new prices of parking passes, according to Borkovich, Ferris still has the lowest cost for parking passes in the lower peninsula.

“It makes sense if they have a crisis prevention system,” Ferris pre-physical therapy student Jonathan Nguyen said. “Universities have a lot more school shootings now, so I see where they are coming from.”

Ferris has also implemented another new threat assessment tool called Mosaic. This can be used by the threat assessment team at Ferris to determine if a person is dangerous based on information they are given and then put into the software. The software reads the data and then provides the team with a number between one and ten that determines the danger of a person along with an accuracy percentage. This percentage is determined based on how many of the questions the threat assessment team was able to answer while using the software.

Ferris also plans on implementing a new set of security cameras with the money earned from raising parking pass prices by the start of next summer, details of which are not yet revealed.