By Ezra Neumann | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
When a shooting occurred near the Central Oregon Community College in early January, security around campus sent out notifications to students and faculty warning them to avoid the area if possible. Some students did not get the text notification, however, and must include their phone numbers on their Bobcat web account to receive such texts.
According to local news reports, Israel Antunez Garcia and Brandon Perez Rodas, both 15, were arrested on charges related to the shooting of another teen on Jan. 6. The crime took place at the Awbrey Pines apartments just down the street from the Central Oregon Community College Bend campus. One of the two boys allegedly shot a sixteen-year-old boy in the chest to steal marijuana.
Because of the crime’s proximity to COCC, the Emergency Notification System or (ENS) was used to notify staff and students of the potentially dangerous situation.
The message was sent at about 11:30 p.m. informing students to stay indoors if they were on campus, or to stay off campus. Another message was sent that following morning letting students and staff know that the suspects were in custody and that COCC was proceeding with its normal schedule.
An important question was raised about student and staff awareness surrounding potentially dangerous or important events that could affect COCC operations.
Not every student or staff member is registered to receive these campus security alerts. Don Doughty, citing director of Campus Public Safety at COCC, believes that it is essential for students and staff to be aware of events such as the recent shooting and to be informed as soon as is possible.
“The ENS notifications absolutely helped with the situation, letting the students on and off campus know of the potential threat within moments of receiving the information was essential for keeping our students and staff safe,” Doughty said.
Not every student and staff member is enrolled in the ENS system, but this can be fixed within five minutes if you follow these easy steps.
Students and staff can go online to their Bobcat web account and then proceed to the personal information tab. Under this tab is located the ENS tab and students and staff can see if they have signed up to to receive notifications.
Doughty recommends that all students and staff sign up for the email and text notifications at minimum. The text message notifications are the most powerful because almost everyone has their phones on them at all times, meaning that they will receive the notifications within just a few moments of it being sent out.
Having signed up for this notification system, students can always feel connected and informed of crucial news that affect COCC operations.
For more information about the campus public safety at COCC, contact Don Doughty at 541-383-7750. ■