UCC Mainstream Online

President asks for input on improving campus safety

Students enjoy lunch in the cafeteria and socialize together in a safe atmosphere.
Sabrina Bidwelln / Mainstream
Students enjoy lunch in the cafeteria and socialize together in a safe atmosphere.

Campus staff, students, security and local safety experts met Friday, Jan. 11 for a campus safety forum.

UCC President Joe Olson held the forum in response to shootings at Clackamas Mall, at the Casa Loma Motel in Roseburg and at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut. The forum was an opportunity for faculty and staff to discuss how prepared UCC is for a potential campus emergency.

UCC already has safety measures in place, such as campus security staff and an early alert system that will send students and staff texts, phone calls and emails containing campus announcements if they have signed up for the alerts and input correct contact information. Landline phones are also available in every classroom as well as keys that will lock the rooms from the inside.

Concerns were brought up in the forum with these systems such as initial problems with classroom landlines and access to classroom keys. Bugs with the early alert system are also being dealt with so that the system will better interface with Banner, the school’s information system, in a way that will reduce data entry error. Because Banner shows which students are currently registered, interfacing the early alert system in this manner will also reduce problems with correctly purging old contact information.

The main focus of the forum concerned collecting ideas on what could be done better and new ideas that could be implemented.

Ideas included armed campus security guards backup reserve systems in case the online systems such as early alert malfunction and training some campus instructors to become first responders who would help stop an emergency quicker.

Forum guests were quick to add their opinions on armed faculty and security members. John Hope, a retired officer, reminded everyone that a great deal of training is required for first responders, referring to the responsibility of carrying a gun and the need for lessons in proper gun handling. Hope also stressed the need for courses that would train the armed individuals to be psychologically prepared to possibly aim their weapon at a person and shoot them.

“Training involves a lot more than going out on a firing range,” said Hope.

Concerns were also raised about police response to emergency on campus; a large worry was response time. Steve Buchko, director of security, assured the forum that he had provided a campus map to the police for in order to ensure that they would be able to know their way to each building and the best way to enter the building in an emergency.

John Hope, as well as others at the forum, expressed that safety cannot be guaranteed. Hope commended UCC and Buchko for doing a good job at making students feel safe.

Olson assured that more safety planning is sure to take place in the near future, with the possibility of staff training and a threat assessment taking place.

Students with any questions or concerns may contact the Director of Security, Steve Buchko in his office in Lockwood Hall.