Meeting Event Security Challenges at Urban Chicago Campus


An urban college in Chicago is home to nearly 12,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students from all over the United States and more than 40 countries.

One of the largest presenters of cultural events in the area with thousands of events annually, the college brings a variety of individuals, cultures and ethnicities onto their campus. The urban area is the campus’ backdrop and a major part of student’s lives. The college meshes well with the community as members often partake in campus events including student performances and galleries, lectures, readings and other professional performances.


During regular business hours, the campus is open to students, faculty and staff, guests and other individuals with a valid reason to be on the school’s property. The hours of operation for the campus vary based on the building location and the time of year, but during non-business hours, access into campus facilities is strictly prohibited.

Events scheduled during non-business hours inside campus facilities are often open to the public and it is vital that the campus’ security team facilitates access to these locations. Security officers manage crowd control, greet and direct guests, and if alcohol is served, monitor the bar area.

“We have an average of 5,000 events a year and involve security in high profile functions and those that attract a large number of attendees,” said the college’s associate vice president for campus safety and security. “When the number of attendees is expected to be above 200, the security team is involved. We also involve security if alcohol will be served, VIP guests are in attendance or the event is likely to spur controversy.”

The associate vice president for campus safety and security needed a security team that would be able to handle these large events and provide extra coverage if the assigned team needed additional resources. “The security team also needs to be able to work with the Chicago Police Department depending on the event, location and size,” he explained. “Since some of our events happen at night, the police do get involved as the campus footprint is surrounded by Chicago’s streets and sidewalks. This helps to reduce the number of extra coverage security officers that we may need to bring in. Other times we work with the police department for traffic control and extra security measures.”

“We attract the public and current and potential students to our events and just like any other campus happening, we have to ensure a safe and secure environment,” he continued. “I need a well-trained security team that can adapt to our culture and philosophy, and be team oriented with the goal of safety and security for the campus and all individuals involved.”


Allied Universal Security Services joined the security team that reports to the college’s Office of Campus Safety & Security in 2008. This team consists of college administrative security staff and more than 60 contracted non-sworn Allied Universal security officers. The college and Allied Universal have established a highly-trained security team and a program built on personal responsibility and community partnerships.

In addition to event security, Allied Universal security officers patrol the interior and exterior of most of the campus’ buildings, and are supplemented by vehicle and Segway patrols. They are also responsible for monitoring surveillance cameras in the campus’ command center. Security officers are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The college requires all campus security officers to participate in ongoing classroom and online training in security awareness, crisis intervention, personal and property protection and emergency response procedures. Allied Universal is equally committed to training and provides specialized higher education training through the Allied Universal comprehensive learning and development program, including eLearning.

Security officers are also certified in First Aid, CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators. Additional training includes incident command, fire safety and criminal investigations.

Mark Hubatch, district manager, Allied Universal, explained that training is critical to the college and Allied Universal, and that the associate vice president for campus safety and security was impressed with Allied Universal’s higher education experience, “Allied Universal’s training and higher education event security experience are excellent, and I believe that everyone at the campus appreciates our approach to training and development.”

Hubatch and the on-site account manager have developed a qualified pool of additional security officers who are trained in higher education to help cover larger than normal campus events when needed. “We have the resources available to meet our client’s extended staffing needs and are prepared to respond quickly when those needs change,” said Hubatch.


The associate vice president for campus safety and security has been impressed with Allied Universal’s local and national support and commitment to help the campus meet their safety and security goals. “In the three years that we have worked with Allied Universal, we have been able to take our event security to the next level,” he said. “The security team, supervisors and management all work together to ensure we are happy with the services that are being provided.”

Since Allied Universal took over the security program, the associate vice president for campus safety and security can now focus on other responsibilities trusting that the account manager and Hubatch will take great care of the security team. “We all have our responsibilities and now I don’t have to worry about security the way I did in the past. If the account manager and Mark are covering one part of security, then I know I can focus on another aspect. We all work well as a team.”

“Event security is a well-tuned and defined program for the college and it is because of the great team we have in place,” said Hubatch. “Each team member has a focus and knows what their role is. We have executed this security program to meet all of our client’s needs and are always ready for the next big event. The security team also understands the need to be sensitive to the campus’ culture and the student’s creativity.”

The associate vice president for campus safety and security concluded, “Allied Universal has greatly exceeded our expectations and they are an integral part of our events on campus.”

Note: Due to client confidentiality, we’ve withheld the client’s name from this case study