Safety Q-and-A with Tony Cantu


Photo by: Thalia Gonzales

Fresno City College President Tony Cantu briefly answers questions regarding the shooting on campus Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. Cantu explains the certain precautions taken on Thursday Oct. 24, 2013.

Story By: Patrick Forrest, Arts & Entertainment Editor

What are your thoughts on the issue of safety on campus?

I think there are things that we need to do, we need to close the loop on some things. I think that we have found out where some of the gaps are. And this all parallels with what the chief said in the forum. Some of the communication that should have gone out didn’t in a timely matter. So we are looking at those kind of things as things that we can improve upon.


Is there anything that you would change about the way that the event of the shooting was handled?

The only thing would be the timeliness of information getting out to everyone.


Are you pleased with how the forum turned out?

I do think that the forum went well. Individual students as well as staff were able to come out and make their views on that subject known.


Whose decision is it to call a lockdown in an emergency situation?

That is a decision that is based strictly on what the chief of police determines at the time, or anyone in campus police for that matter. Which again was one of the things that was brought up at the forum. So that decision was made because since the perpetrators had already left campus that there was no need to shut down the campus and I know that there is some disagreement in that ‘should the campus had been locked down or not?’


Do you agree with the decision to leave the campus open?

Yes. Based on the information that we had at the time, it was the correct decision.


Has any of the new information changed your mind on the decision?

No, but with the knowledge that the two men had left campus and began to go southwards, away from campus, it remains the correct decision.


According to Chief Hartman, the shots were fired, around 11:05 or 11:10 that morning. How long after that was it until you were made aware of the situation?

It was anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes after that, because it was not very long.


Whose decision was it to call for the forum?




To answer questions that individuals may have. There were a lot of questions as to what happened, why it happened and how decisions were made. So I felt that it was best to open up so that individuals could ask questions.


Are there any plans to address any  frustrations that students, staff or community members may have?

Oh yes. I mean we are going to look at our communication process. I think the chief even made reference to some of the things that we are going to be doing. One of them being we will be working closer with our public information office, so that that office becomes a point of information, getting the information out and more fully taking advantage of the technology that we have on campus to get a message out to classrooms and students with the other technology that we have available.


According to Chief Hartman, there are only about 3,000 people signed up for the ‘1st2Know’ system. He doesn’t feel that that is enough people to get a full message out that way. Is there anything that FCC or the district are doing to increase the numbers in the system?

Well we did hand out the little book markers at the forum. But beyond just that we have looked at the process that we use to get information out. There are individuals that signed up, but may not have gotten a message, some got e-mails instead of a text. So there were a lot of glitches in the information process.


After seeing the glitches in the system what changes are being implemented?

Part of it is modifying the system so that we can get the information out. The other is not having the different layers of who you have to go through in order to get information. For example, if something happens the public information office is the point of contact, so the public information office and I would decide this is the situation that is happening let’s get this message out and get the information out on campus. We don’t have to wait on somebody from the district to send something out.


Once the information goes out, at any given time there are maybe thousands of people who are on campus but outside not in classes. If an emergency situation is happening what would they do?

Those individuals would receive a message from the intercom system that we have outdoors. So the information would be broadcast from the intercom system that would direct those individuals as to what to do, where to go or anything. Whether it be clear this area, or exit campus via this exit do not go towards or near this building or area. That is how we envision it. And also that same information would be brought into the classrooms via the telephones. So there would be a message instructing you that this happened and exactly what you are supposed to because of it. That can be stay put and lock the door and wait for further instructions or begin to exit the campus depending of course on what the situation is.

Who is responsible for the gaps in that system?

It’s a joint effort. It’s the college, it’s the campus police are responsible and have to make sure that all the steps are included and that everything works and functions the way that it is supposed to.


What exactly is the way that the system supposed to work’?

The text message, the first to know, should have worked one way and it didn’t. Everybody should have gotten the message, there should have been no problems, everybody that signed up should have gotten the message. We have to make sure that those kind of glitches in the system are taken care of.


There were glitches and the way that this system was supposed to work it didn’t; How confident are you that the next system won’t have the glitches that this one did?

I expect that we would have addressed all the glitches and should another situation arise that we would have already addressed them all.


Is there a timeframe on how soon a new system can be up and running?

It’s not a new system. It’s not a matter of getting a new system. It’s a matter of making sure that the system that we currently have does what it’s supposed to do. That’s what that is. So we didn’t take advantage of the telephones to get the message out to the classrooms, that is something that will happen so that individuals are informed.