Safety Should Be Top Priority on Campus

Story By: Rampage Editorial Board

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Fresno City College students should feel safe on and off campus, period.

Yes, ours is an open campus, and yes, we are acquiring our education literally in the heart of Fresno. But the college and the district are responsible for our safety and must step up their game to ensure that all students feel safe, especially those enrolled in night classes and leave their classes at 9:00 p.m. and walk two blocks to their vehicles.

A couple of weeks ago, a female student was violently attacked and nearly dragged out of her vehicle around 2:45 p.m in broad daylight.

Events like this can be prevented.

The State Center Community College District and Fresno City College should invest in more on-campus parking — say a parking structure maybe? — so students do not have to park blocks and blocks away.

Yes, the district is considering several ways to resolve the parking issue, but the matter is now urgent. We cannot afford to have another student accosted or injured or too terrified to come back to FCC.

The college and/or district should spike their online presence.

Currently the district police has a Twitter account, which according to a Sept. 3, 2014 article in The Rampage is intended to quickly disseminate information to students should an attack or assault take place.

That account only has 80 followers as of Sept. 7, 2015. How could that be on a campus with about 25,000 students? What is the college doing to get students to sign up for that potentially life-saving Twitter account?

Each student is given a college email for the purpose of uniformly communicating with their instructors and peers. However, Gmail and Yahoo seem to be popular domains and the college uses Microsoft.

The 1st2know emergency alert system has failed in the past and has left students in the dark about what has happened on campus.

The Oct. 14, 2013 shooting that took place on the campus parking lots had a miniscule section of the college on alert. But what if the terror of bullets flying had moved directly on campus? Would students know, immediately after a shot was fired and police were alerted, to run to safety or grab their friends?

If the college switched to an emergency email alert system that gave way for students to receive an alert minutes – not hours or weeks – after something has happened, it would improve our security and sense of safety.

All in all, there needs to be a greater sense of security on campus other than a police car roaming around every few hours or so or a police officer riding his bike around campus a few days a week.

The fact is, this college has grown and is likely to continue to grow. With that growth comes loads of new and returning students. The question is, with so many students, will the college be able to manage an incident which requires police intervention? More importantly, can the college handle an event that requires an immediate notification of students?

An even more important question is, given the large number of students on this campus, is the college itself, not necessarily the police, communicating effectively with students?

If they can use a domain that we are all familiar and comfortable with, then maybe this is where campus police can chime in and set up their own process for sending emails and timely reports of incidents.

If we go by the current processes — Twitter and the 1st2know system — the college still has a lot of work to do to make students confident that their safety and well being is top priority.

Students should not be fearful to get from their classes to their cars or anywhere else in the FCC area.