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Dorm fire sparks push for campus fire info

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  1. Freedom of Information
From the Summer 2005 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 24. Campus safety isn't just about crime,…

From the Summer 2005 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 24.

Campus safety isn’t just about crime, which became clear in 2000 when a massive dorm fire at Seton Hall University in New Jersey killed three students and injured more than 50 others.

Eighteen people have died in fires in dorms and fraternity and sorority houses since January 2000, according to an April report from the Center for Campus Fire Safety that illustrates that access to campus fire safety data can play an important role in holding universities accountable for building safety.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) is pushing federal legislation that would require all schools to disclose campus fire safety information.

H.R. 2637, the “Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Act,” would require schools to publish annual fire safety reports containing data about fires, fire-related injuries and false alarms. The bill also would require schools to report whether campus buildings, including fraternity and sorority houses, are equipped with fire sprinklers and fire escapes.

“We must band together and take the immediate step to inform our students and parents about the current level of fire safety on campuses,” Pascrell said in a statement. “No student or family should be kept in the dark about a school’s fire safety record.” &#151 AG