Safety Issues at ARC —by Diana Hicks

Safety Issues at ARC

By Diana Hicks

The horrific mass shooting in Oregon seems to have prompted some students to recreate the threat of violence at a number of colleges, including ARC.  Apparently, this kind of reaction is common, though certainly not acceptable.  ARC was able to avert a possible catastrophe because an alert student spoke up when he or she heard the threat. The student informed ARC staff, who then contacted the Los Rios Police. The Los Rios Police, in conjunction with the Sacramento Sheriffs,  arrested the  individual who had allegedly made the threat. As a college Union president, I get many calls of concern that faculty safety—in the classroom and in open learning spaces—is not always being taken as seriously as the faculty or staff member believes it should be.  Often student rights are cited as the reason for putting students back in the classroom or learning environment.  Other times, students apologize and complain they were having “a bad day.”  The same result occurs: the offending student is back at school, and other students in that setting are worried for their safety, as well as the professor’s.  The professor is worried and frustrated.  Truly, more needs to be done to make problem students responsible for their actions, and Administration needs to be more responsive to the faculty members’ pleas.  After all, they are the ones, along with many classified, in the trenches.  They know firsthand how scary it can be with these dysfunctional and challenged students.

Dealing with safety issues is an ongoing process at ARC.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) we have employed the threat assessment provision in the contract on a number of occasions.  Although the first couple of times the process was a bit rough, many of the problems were addressed when the ad hoc “Threat Assessment Committee,” of which I am a member, got together.  Currently, we are developing a simple flow chart to show faculty and staff the typical process of a threat assessment. The flow chart will be shared with the entire campus community soon. Similarly, the Safety Committee has also has been discussing many ways to make the campus safer.  For instance, ARC is in the process of putting cameras all over campus, especially in the parking lots and remote areas.  After the SCC shooting, President Thomas Greene had listening sessions to garner feedback from faculty who may have questions or concerns about campus safety.  Still, more needs to be done to evade tragedy and violence and so we do not become the next headline.