Director of Campus Safety – Bennington College (VT)

Bennington College is seeking an experienced and equity-minded public safety leader to serve as its next director of campus safety. The expected start date is December 2021/January 2022.

Bennington is an innovative and distinguished residential liberal arts college that has, since its founding in 1932, served as a laboratory for new ideas and an intellectual home to countless artists, activists, and thinkers who have shaped contemporary culture. The College was the first to include the visual and performing arts in a liberal arts education, and it is the only institution to require that its students spend a term—every year—at work in the world. Bennington’s nearly 800 students (697 undergraduate and 102 graduate) work intensively with faculty and staff to forge individualized and hands-on educational paths around their driving questions and interests, and also devote themselves to a number of community outreach efforts, often tied to the endeavors they are pursuing in their coursework.

Bennington serves a diverse student population inclusive of members of ethnically/racially minoritized, international, LGBTQIA+, and disability communities, as well as diverse gender identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, and political beliefs. Nineteen percent of undergraduate students identify as a person of color and 18 percent are international students representing 59 countries. Staff and faculty also reflect diverse and intersecting backgrounds and identities. All employees are expected to be respectful and responsive to these differences in the service of building community that promotes student and employee success. Each individual (faculty, staff and students) will be accountable for upholding these values. The College’s approach to pluralism and inclusivity—both as fields of inquiry and practice—is to prioritize flexible thought and to invite the examination of access, value, power, and privilege through its institutional policies and areas of study.

Situated on 440 breathtaking acres in Bennington, Vermont, the campus is a convergence of creative minds, distinctive buildings, and expansive spaces. Bennington has been named one of ten college campuses with the best architecture by Architectural Digest. From campus, it is a short drive to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), Clark Art Institute, and other cultural offerings of the northern Berkshires in Massachusetts; Albany, New York; and many of Vermont’s top recreational centers. New York City, Boston, and Burlington, Vermont, are all within three-and-a-half hours by car.

Reporting to the dean of student life and serving on the divisional leadership team, the director of campus safety (director) will provide transformative and relationship-based leadership to the Department of Campus Safety in its mission of ensuring the safety and security of the campus for students, faculty, staff, and guests. Campus safety is a well-respected function on campus and operates 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. As an unarmed and unsworn department, its two campus safety supervisors, seven full-time security officers, and 10-12 full-time and part-time monitors and van drivers are the main resource for campus community members, their guests, and visitors as they arrive on campus.

The director will collaborate with and serve as a key advisor to the Bennington community on campus safety issues and security operations, and will work closely with colleagues across the college to refine, elevate, and articulate Campus Safety’s vision and mission as a critical element of the Bennington community and experience. The successful candidate will be well-versed and fluent in leading thoughtful and transparent conversations with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and external partners on the contemporary challenges facing campus safety departments including, but not limited to, meaningful community engagement, the role and philosophical underpinnings of campus security, gender-based violence and harassment, disparate treatment of minoritized individuals and communities, and legal and compliance requirements.

The director is responsible for working in partnership with the entire campus community to establish and sustain an antiracist, welcoming, safe, and inclusive living, learning, and working environment. They will be responsible for developing strategies and setting protocols to ensure that Campus Safety team members are a trusted and supportive resource for community members in need of services, with an emphasis on the wellbeing of all being served. Grounded in a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, the director will be charged with positively impacting campus through building community and relationships, promoting accountability, and reinforcing community standards and college policies/procedures, as well as working in partnership with external agencies/resources as needed.

This position is an exceptional opportunity for a reform-minded leader with a strong knowledge of higher education public safety and emergency response practices. The successful candidate will possess outstanding communication skills, an appreciation and vision for the role of campus safety at a liberal arts residential college, and an unwavering commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in every facet of the department’s activities. Required qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in the social sciences, education, or criminal justice or a related field; four or more years of progressive supervisory experience in security and public safety; a valid driver’s license; and certification in Basic First Aid and CPR.

The search committee particularly invites applications from individuals who have a passion for working with creative students, a deep commitment to antiracism, and an affinity for the distinctive mission and character of Bennington College. Applicants from diverse realms of interest, backgrounds, experience, and accomplishment are encouraged to apply.

Review of applications will begin Friday, October 15, 2021, and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the position specification may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at www.spelmanjohnson.com/open-positions. Nominations for this position may be forwarded to Michel Frendian at mrf@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Bennington College website at www.bennington.edu and the Bennington Campus Safety website at https://www.bennington.edu/campus-safety.

Bennington College is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination as defined under applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. The College does not discriminate in its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV test, or any other legally protected status.