Philosophy of Risk

Risk is inherent in all worthy endeavors; it is indispensable to the educational process. Without facing risk, one will not encounter and transcend perceived limitations and stretch into new capacities.

Counterbalancing the value of risk is the need to preserve assets. When institutional assets are depleted by preventable loss, our educational mission is compromised.

Our Approach is Strategic

We address these opposing elements by managing our risks strategically.

  • We insure risk when affordable.
  • We transfer risk when appropriate.
  • We mitigate risk when feasible.
  • We accept or avoid risk when prudent.
  • We tolerate risk only when necessary.
    Examples of each in Footnote [1]

Our Standards are Ambitious

Westmont College aims to meet or exceed the best practices of the higher education community and the insurance industry in all relevant areas by energetically pursuing the following conditions

  • Our policies are clear, succinct and sensible.
  • Our procedures are neither intrusive nor obtrusive.
  • Our practices are internally consistent.
  • Our approach prefers education and influence over control.
  • Our response to challenges is thoughtful, measured, and compassionate.
    Comments on each in Footnote [2]

We are Careful yet Courageous

In establishing priorities we exercise considered judgment about foreseeable losses in terms of their severity, frequency, mitigation effort, and mitigation cost (in declining weight). While we cannot disregard the threats to our assets posed by a litigious society or a dangerous world, neither will we be governed by fear in achieving our educational vision and our spiritual calling.

In all respects, we affirm the sovereignty of God in the affairs of the College, and we entrust to God both our human judgment and its outcomes.

Institutional Resilience at Westmont



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[1] Examples - Insure: Westmont carries all the standard insurance coverages (liability, property, auto, and so on). Transfer: When a contractor performs work on campus, we clarify by contract that s/he assumes the risks associated with their work. Mitigate: We pre-screen the motor vehicle records of employees with driving duty. Accept: We encourage participation in certain athletic activities even though some risk of incompensable harm is present. Avoid: We do not sponsor obvious-risk clubs such as hang-gliding or motorcycling. Tolerate: Earthquake insurance is prohibitively expensive, so while we don't consider this exposure acceptable, there exists no realistic alternative.

[2] Comments - Policies: We actively resist wordy or nonsensical written expectations. Procedures: We seek the most simple and efficient means of compliance with laws and policies. Practices: College departments operate in a manner that, where applicable, conforms to common standards. Approach: Individual and academic freedom are respected whenever a demonstrable need for preservation of assets is not at stake. Response: For instance, our Situation Response Team is well exercised, and is deliberate in attending to the human dimensions of a crisis.