Well, let's see...
I am one of those "snooty" desk people at the residence halls. I've also been the "big bad resident assistant" and to be honest...we're just students, like everyone else. I've never received any training as a desk clerk to deal with anything other then morons locking themselves out of their rooms. My job isn't to sit and watch every person who walks by, nor is it to stop people I think look like they don't belong. My job is to essentially give the illusion of security. If anything major happens we call the campus police, and/or RA's/Hall Director/Assistant Hall Director on duty (depending on the situation).
As an R.A. we are given little training to identify students who may be a threat to others, as we aren't professionals. I've taken diversity training, suicide prevention training, drug/alcohol confrontation training. I've initiated suicide watches, called in hate crimes, and "busted" people for drugs and alcohols. The few times I did have residents who needed mental help, I was to refer them to the university counseling center, then follow up with them (sometimes this involved going there with them-but they have to be receptive to the idea of help in the first place). I've been threatened, punched and all sorts of not-so-fun stuff. But we just really don't have the resources to deal with a lot of it. People who cause problems are relocated to other residence halls or placed in discipline rooms.
As for campus safety: When I was a member of the resident staff, I was in the emergency phone tree (but they had my number wrong- the morons, so I found out about a man holding people in a grocery store hostage by driving by it because it's my main store, and I couldn't go in that day. But that's beside the point). So that is somewhat effective-if numbers are right. But we can't call everyone (meaning residents), R.A.'s are then expected to pass out information. We, as a campus, are notified by email for anything that happens (like last night when a man tried to jump off a resident hall).
Our residence halls can be placed into lockdown rather quickly. Everything is electronically controlled, so locking the doors would be easy. Main campus buildings are another story. We're a state school and don't have the funding to have the same systems in place (not to mention how bloody annoying it would be). Some of our buildings are huge, and no central offices in any of them: it would be hard to put our campus in lockdown, also there's no P.A. system, it would just be difficult to get any word out across the building at once.
The point is, many college campuses just don't have the funding to make their schools overly "safe". I also feel it's pretty unnecessary. Even in lockdown, someone could still do significant damage. The doors are wood, and easily kicked in. Even the high security doors in the halls have a sweet spot. I know this because the police told me when working one night, but he wouldn't tell me where the sweet spot was
We want to make our campuses safe? Great, how are you going to do it without punishing students by raising tuition? Buildings are bigger, campuses are huge. There is no "entrance" to my university, no natural barriers to force you to enter from a certain direction, and I certainly hope there's never any metal detectors..that's something I don't need to feel safe. I don't think they need to make any major improvements, I already feel fairly safe on campus, I don't want to feel paranoid.
My campus isn't any more or less safe then it was on Sunday. The fact that we are now more aware of the lack of security doesn't change anything. I will continue to go to class as I have everyday for the past few years.
Then again, right now, I'm too busy to care about campus security....which isn't to say I don't care....I've just got other stuff on my mind.
I should also mention that my university has an emergency perpardness plan for a freakin' hurricane. Mind you, I live in a VERY landlocked state. If a hurricane hit us, we'd have more things to worry about.
We also have one for pandemic flu..I can even tell you what halls we'd transport sick residents to die in (morbid, I know...but it's part of the training I got to go through).
This leads me to believe that they probably have a pretty good plan for other stuff including a gunman on campus.
Edited by JadziaDax, 20 April 2007 - 12:33 AM.