Think, Know, Prove is a regular Saturday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.
The biggest non-event of the week (maybe the semester) was easily Thursday’s “Stay In Place” Drill. There’s been some discussion of it already in Thursday’s posts, including UsuallyConfused’s suggestion that s/he feels less safe now after doing the drill instead of safer.
Over the last few years the college has had a few discussions related to safety and security issues. There was Judi Nitsch’s college wide email in FA08 about an incident in her class and a few other experiences. She wrote:
I apologize for the mass email but believe the information to be pressing for all faculty at Harold Washington College. I would like to report to the community a disturbing incident that occurred Tuesday evening, after my 5:30 class had begun. I reported this incident and am equally disturbed by the response from the institution. Such information, I submit, should be publicly disseminated, as it is at most campuses through a system of “campus alerts.” Without such a system in place, we invite dangerous situations to occur on our campus; we endanger our students and our own lives…
I am not asking for a fortress-like campus, but I submit that the surrounding community views our security as lax. In the future, I will call 911 for assistance, as I take the safety of myself and my students very seriously. I also submit that, as a community, we need a consistent, recorded practice and procedure for handling such emergency situations.
Then there was the all college meeting in the wake of the shootings at one campus or another, announcing the formation of the Pandemic/Security Committee or something like that and discussion mostly focused on some ceiling projectors that had been brazenly stolen over the summer (I have to admit to a tremendous amount of fuzziness on the history of this one–it could be that I’m mixing together different meetings in my memory. I’m sure I was late to it/them, and I know that, going in, I was dubious about the need/efficacy of what would come out of it.).
I also know, that when I started, anything that wasn’t bolted down, walked away. (I remember being told that I shouldn’t leave my office door open when I went to my mailbox because if I did, when I returned my course books (backpack/coat/lunch/pencils) would be gone. In FA08 there seemed to be a resurgence in object disappearances, but it’s died back down now in my estimation). I still try to avoid providing unnecessary temptations to people, but I am generally not concerned about theft. I’ve had semesters where it seemed like there were a few more imbalanced, as in emotionally unstable, people than others, and I’ve had a few interactions with people here and there that left me feeling vaguely unsettled (though never threatened). I’ve also heard, at departmental meetings mostly, about a few incidents where colleagues felt downright endangered–usually much more so after the fact.
If and when I get around to doing the things that I’m supposed to be doing, Faculty Council will have a survey on campus security for faculty to take. In the meantime, I’d like to start the discussion here (or maybe continue the discussion from Thursday’s threads, with the opportunity to broaden it). Mr. Rozelle told Faculty Council that security’s prime directive is “to prevent and remove disruptions from the educational environments.” When we asked him about doing a survey of the faculty, he predicted that the faculty estimation of the security staff and the security of the college would be “bad.” That surprised me, and I wondered when I heard it, what I didn’t know about.
And so I ask you: does the security staff follow its directive in your experience? Is your estimation of the safety and security of the college that it is “bad”? Do you feel safe on campus? Are you?
What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?
(h/t to UsuallyConfused for the topic)