Safety Issues

As the one who first introduced campus safety as an issue at Academic Senate (1999), I can't say that much of substance has been done.

We did have one professional development session--back in 2000 or so as far as I recall--where a local law enforcement officer gave us rather good guidelines for what to do if you're held hostage. And we've got the campus safety manual--which will perhaps prove helpful if we ever get specific training in its use, otherwise I doubt that many have read it and fewer still recall much of it.

Oh, and wearing our ID badges was supposed to promote public safety. I guess identifying the likely victims of violence makes law enforcement's job easier--in that they can identify faculty and staff quicker after a crazed student (not wearing ID) opens fire randomly. Past that, the only thing that wearing ID badges accomplishes is to make us look more like we work on the floor at Wal-Mart.

So how about some specific suggestions for improving campus security? As in the thread on saving money, I'll start.

1. Professional development should include safety training at least annually. This training should include practicum and not just lecture.

2. Every classroom should be fitted with a simple single-throw deadbolt lock on the inside of its doors. If gunfire breaks out in the hallway, the instructor can then secure the door and direct students to huddle together in a corner that's protected from fire.

3. Every room with an exterior window should have its room number displayed visibly in one of those windows. That would allow first responders to find almost every room in the building without (for example) having to figure out that the 200 wing is not between the 100 and the 300.

All of those are inexpensive options--then there's a fourth that's been brought up elsewhere:

4. Configure campus phones so that the specific campus phone is identified in every 911 call.


TheBaninator said...

The best and only precaution to prevent school shootings is to allow the students and staff to legally carry their concealed weapons (provided of course, they have a permit from the state) Anything short of this is a waste of time, because most of these tragedies were well planned and the shooters prepared.

In high school, we did a similar drill where we would lock our doors, turn off the lights in the room, and huddle into corners, waiting to be slaughtered in short order. Whoever came up with this idea was clearly an academic, and knows absolutely NOTHING about how to react to violence after it has been initiated. "Hiding" in a corner where you are a ridiculously easy target amongst a mass of other ridiculously easy targets is NOT a good reaction strategy.

I'm a student employee, and I like wearing my ID. Maybe it's because I don't get paid nearly as much as other people here and it makes me feel important. Maybe I think it makes me look more professional.
There are an increasing number of non-traditional students attending Edison, and I'd hate to have to assume that every "older" person on campus is staff or faculty. I'm a mere 26, and I'm older that one of my professors.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy with the board (or some of the staff) either, but if we are to formulate logical solutions to existing issues, then we need to think things through and not blindly rip-off other people's terrible ideas.

From the dark said...

I thought that the badges were bullet-proof.

Still Taking Notes said...

Do I want to stand in front of a group of potentially armed students in order to teach a college class on, let's say, gender relationships, or radical fundamentalism, or global terrorism, or any other diversity issue that might come up in today's classroom? NO. Who would be in charge of that classroom if I chose NOT to be armed? Would any real life parent send their PESOP student to Edison if they thought our faculty and student body carried weapons? Gimme a break here!

Do I want to cower in a corner? That doesn't sound good either. And it's a classic example of either or thinking. There are reasonable alternatives.

I DO want to know that I, or any student, can dial 911 from any classroom and get a professional armed response, if needed. Or any other kind of response!

There are some days when I might prefer to dial 711--IT shows up quickly, and some of those guys are pretty big! (OK, relax, I won't do that.)

I have taught in classrooms where students have asked to sit away from the door, because they were fearful of an angry ex. One young woman even asked if she could sit between two other female students, because she didn't want a jealous boyfriend to see her sitting next to another guy.

Let's recognize that we teach a wide segment of the community and some of these people are under a lot of stress. My ID badge is not bullet proof, so I will have to depend upon good reflexes and my reasoning skills--one of our core values, by the way.

No one of importance said...

These are great suggestions, TR. While marking the windows with room numbers would be great, I don't know if they'd be a good access or escape point given how high they are. Also, they might be too small for most people to crawl through.

Deadbolts and phones would be great. Let's keep in mind DCC, which has no windows and no phones in classrooms. But, most importantly, any call from DCC shows up on caller ID as a Piqua number.

Baninator, I admire your passion for the school, yet I can't help wonder why the solution to potential gun violence is to bring more guns. It makes theoretical sense that one wouldn't attack a potentially armed person if one didn't want to get hurt. However, these elaborately and carefully planned shootings typically end with the shooters planned suicide should they not go down in a glorious hail of bullets. A potentially armed student population wouldn't deter a person with no regard for self preservation as long as that person was able to take a few people with him.

Besides, how horrible would it be to see more students and employees harmed by crossfire in a hallway shootout, especially if it were to take place in the 400's near the daycare? In addition, how are police and rescue workers (or other armed students/faculty) going to be able to tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys" when they come to a shootout?

Sometimes, receiving an alert, locking the door, and cowering in a corner of a room with cinderblock walls seems like the smart thing to do rather than rush into the hall with my gun drawn like I was in "Die Hard." As Still Taking Notes responded, it's not always the worst case scenario we have to worry about.

From the dark said...


TR said...

The idea behind having room numbers on exterior windows is to help first responders locate rooms quickly. While I understand that the first responder is my second line of defense (my first line = me), if there are shots fired in the hallway near room 223 and someone calls the police, I want them to be able to see where 223 is as they approach.

Meanwhile I've gotten some email with intriguing suggestions:

1. Bonded, armed and trained security.

2. A safety assessment by a professional who makes a living doing such things.

3. Security cameras. (I think we've implemented some of those).

Concerning #1 above, I recall back in the early 70s when University of Kentucky Northern Community College changed under my feet into Northern Kentucky State College, and in year 2 the administration decided to arm security. My generation-of-love classmates howled, but I recall asking how many of them would want to patrol a deserted campus at 2 a.m. on a Friday while unarmed. Bottom line: I am a bit biased in favor of well-trained peace officers with firearms.