Active shooter false alarm sparks first ever joint meeting for emergency preparedness

by Sara Pena 123 views0

An open forum meeting discussing the future of COC’s campus safety was held last week in response to January’s active shooter false alarm.

The classified and academic senate came together, along with COC’s Associated Student Government to attend the meeting inside Aliso Hall.

The goal of the joint meeting was to discuss the false alarm in January and how COC can improve.

“We decided as a first opportunity for the senates to meet jointly to have it based around these events, not specifically for an active shooter style event but just campus safety and awareness,” said Justin Hunt, Classified Senate President.

Authorities arrive at COC Valencia Campus to investigate the call of a potential active shooter on January 16, 2019.

The meeting’s priority was to ensure everyone’s safety would be met in order to guide students towards their success and college goals.

The meeting allowed an open environment where faculty, staff, and students had the opportunity to voice their opinions on the issue, according to COC officials.

“Having multiple different types of people with multiple different preferences and perspectives in one room to be able to freely and openly talk about their concerns and have a safe place to do so is the first step to improving any situation and moving forward,” Hunt said.

Brandon Gelfand, a COC student with a big voice in regards to campus safety, has also expressed how important keeping the conversation going really is.

“It’s happened so many times where it’s been spoken about and people forgot about it,” said Gelfand.

Gelfand feels it is important that students are aware of the voice they each carry and to not let any concerns drive them away from speaking out.

Gelfand is currently the only non-ASG student who has actively played a role in adding on to the safety and emergency procedure conversation.

Gelfand has made sure his voice has been heard at multiple meetings, including the Board of Trustees meeting, where he spoke about what he felt was a lack of preparation in what could have been a very real threat back in January.

Audience leads an open discussion on the matters presented by Classified and Academic Senate Presidents.

“My biggest goal here is to keep making enough noise long enough that the conversation doesn’t stop until we have come to a resolution,” said Gelfand.

For the first time ever, the classified and academic senate were able to come together in gathering the audience’s concerns.

The meeting symbolized a medium for both halves to provide students safety.

Both senates agreed this meeting should be known as the first of many, and hope to continue to host similar meetings quarterly, according to campus officials.

“In a sense, we had almost a trial run with what happened in January,” said Rebecca Eikey, President of the Academic Senate. “There’s a lot we can learn from that…what do we do better and how do we make sure that everyone feels really empowered to make the right decisions.”

The Classified Senate hopes to hear from campus administration on the future progression of COC’s campus safety.

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