Emergency button rumor challenged

Donovan Terblanche

During the course of this semester there have been numerous concerns for student and staff safety on campus.

One concern is that the emergency call boxes set up around the school in case of emergency, do not work after 6 p.m.

The red boxes spread throughout campus work on an intercom basis and allow a person to communicate with the campus police.

Mary Bernard, vice president of instruction on campus, is aware of these concerns and has been in contact with Sheila Heron-Fox and Sgt. Kevin Olson at the campus police dispatch center.

Heron-Fox assured Bernard that “there is always someone at the other end of the call,” to deal with any situation.

These red boxes are intended for faculty use only; but in cases of emergency, students are permitted to take full advantage.

Another system that can be used if an emergency arises, are a series of alarms. Only a few faculty and staff members know about it because the system is managed by campus police under much stricter guidelines.

If all other plans fail, campus police can be contacted by phone. Every landline in school has a direct hotline that is programmed to the campus police dispatch.

Numerous professors have the phone number saved on their personal mobile phones.

“There could be several reasons as to why this rumor started,” Sgt. Jordan Mirakian, the senior officer in charge said.

One possibility is that the ladies who work in the police office on campus leave to go home at 6 p.m. “Once they leave they lock the doors behind them,” Mirakian said.

“This does not mean there are no police on campus,” he added. “The police are on campus 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”

The Sgt. Mirakian said that he and his staff routinely check the emergency call boxes, the panic buttons, and the fire and smoke alarms.

Marilyn Anderson of the Learning and Resource Center said, “we do have concerns for being such an open campus.” Anderson did report that she has not had any problems with outsiders causing disruptions.

In an attempt to avoid future safety problems, Bernard began working with architects, designers, school staff and campus police on how new classrooms could be structured and laid out.