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Marcus LeGrand

By Marcus LeGrand | The Broadside (Contact: mlegrand2@cocc.edu)

There is no nice or acceptable way to frame nor define mass shootings, but in our country, they are more common than anywhere else in the world. Ron Paradis, College Relations Executive Director, Matthew McCoy Administration Vice President, and Don Doughty, Campus Public Safety Action Director offered insight on what COCC is doing to protect, inform and educate the campus community.

Since the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oct. 2015, many of the community colleges in Oregon and across the country have recognized there is a responsibility to build relationships with local law enforcement and first responders to protect their campuses. This was no different for COCC, Paradis said, “Once the incident has occurred, we have to recognize and be aware of our surroundings on our campus and how to act.”

That’s why after the rape and murder of Jeanne Clery at Lehigh University in 1990, a backlash was triggered against unreported crime on campuses across the country. This created the Jeanne Clery Act, a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics. In order to comply with Clery Act requirements, colleges and universities must understand what the law entails, where their responsibilities lie, and what they can do to actively foster campus safety.

McCoy sees campus safety in entirely different light, but overall, safety of students, faculty and visitors on the campus was echoed loud and clear by the VP. “Recognition is the most professional means to help build a knowledge base that helps institutions built a place of safety is our overall concern.”

He believes that the community at large has forgotten many of the communal ideals that allows everyone to be safe. As people are preoccupied with other matters, we must relearn how to be observant, recognize potential issues, and use our perceptual skills to identify safety concerns.

Where the CPS department comes into play involving safety falls into three simple areas: education of policy and procedures, physical environment of the campus, and enforcement of the law based on the violation. This includes fire extinguishers, automated external defibrillators, eye wash stations, emergency showers, emergency phones, panic buttons, surveillance cameras, intrusion alarms, and much more. All of these systems help recommend best practices to build a team that can handle any crisis.

“We understand that we are not law enforcement, but our responsibility is to simply collaborate with the local authorities to make sure the campus is safe,” Doughty said. In line with that safety, CPS also conducts training for students by offering four courses:

  1.     Run/Hide/Fight
  2.    Environmental Health and Safety
  3.    Safe 15
  4.    Rape Aggression Defense

Every year, many of the leaders across the country come together to discuss what is needed on their campuses. Since 2005, the National Disaster Resilient University Network Summit has offered means to increase communication, coordination, and collaboration between campuses. It is used to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, continue operations during, and recover from natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other human-caused crises or disasters.

The 2018 National DRU Summit will build upon that historical framework by offering participants new tools, resources, and ideas for making campuses more resilient to disasters. The Summit will feature presentations by higher education experts, as well as peer-to-peer discussions, workgroups, and networking sessions to help you advance the concept of resilience on your campus. This year’s conference is being held in Eugene, Ore. from April 4 to April  5  at the University of Oregon. For more information about the Summit, visit https://safety.uoregon.edu/2018-national-dru-network-summit.

For more information about how you can help on COCC’s campus, contact CPS at publicsafety@cocc.edu or call (541) 383-7272. 

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