Ray Arasteh


Campus safety issues have become a growing epidemic in United States. Several factors for instance active shooter incidents across United States may have created a negative correlation between parental/public perception and campus safety. Social amplification or attenuation of risk (SAAR), the theoretical framework for this research study, may play an influential role in swaying public opinion about campus safety and institutional selection process. This dissertation utilized the SPELIT Power Matrix needs assessment model, SAAR theoretical framework, and servant leadership model to determine which sources of information and what factors are influential in the decision-making process for selecting an IHE. This study used social media to reach out to millions of people anonymously to seek individual opinions and collect data to further analyze which factors and influences can affect decision making outcomes. The researcher offers one potential researched-based solution, the security awareness foundation etiquette (SAFE) card, which can guide college bound prospective students elevate their awareness and make more informed decisions. The researcher used Wilcoxon matched pairs tests to compare the mean score of college decision factors to determine which college decision factors were most significant. The following college decisions factors were significant sorted by highest mean score: campus safety (M = 4.43), Major (M = 4.41), program (M = 4.39), and cost (M = 4.27). The following information sources were significant, sorted by highest mean score: campus visit (M = 4.33), opinion of graduates (M =3.92), ratings given by impartial organizations such as US News and World Report (M = 3.68), and counselor recommendation (M = 3.54). When college decision factors and information sources were compared, a significant relationship was discovered between social media as an information source and campus safety as a college decision factor, with a correlation coefficient of r = .29. IHEs generally avoid displaying campus safety issues or negative news, therefore most and perhaps not all IHEs appear to have a safe campus. The theoretical framework for this study suggests that by omitting such facts as campus safety, social attenuation of risk may be affecting college bound prospective students’ and respective parents’ decision-making outcomes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Universities and colleges -- Security measures -- United States; Campus violence -- United States; College environment -- Evaluation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Mallette, Leo;