Editorial: Prioritizing campus safety

Angelica Wallingford

On Oct. 1, Christopher Harper-Mercer fatally shot nine people and injured nine others in a rage-filled attack on Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

With this event still very fresh in everyone’s mind, it begs the questions: What if this happens at San Diego City College? Are students, staff and faculty prepared? Is there a plan?

Memories of evacuation and disaster drills are far gone in most of the minds of current City College students and most students currently have no experience with drills dealing with active shooter situations.

In light of this recent tragedy, it’s evident now more than ever that City College needs a plan. Not a plan that’s talked about through email to administrators and never really put into action but a plan that’s known by students, staff, faculty, administrators and everyone who 
attends City on a regular basis.

A YouTube video entitled “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event,” linked to San Diego Community College District’s staff and faculty in an email by Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, shows three different ways people can deal with a potential active shooter situation.

In the Oct. 1 email, Carroll said that this particular video was discussed and distributed in departmental and campus meetings, which would mean that this issue would have been discussed long before the recent shooting in Oregon.

Why wasn’t any of this information or this video shared with students?

According to the 2014 edition of the City College Fact Book, the campus had 16,737 students in the spring 2014 semester. With thousands of students spread out over an open campus spanning 60 acres, you would think that some type of disaster preparation drill would have been shared with students at this point.

Students are usually told to just to report suspicious activity to the Campus Police or the San Diego Police Department wherever and whenever they see it on campus. The population at City College needs something more than “alert the police.” Alerting the proper authorities is a great idea, but we need to be aware of what else we can do when a major catastrophe happens. We need a plan of action. We need to have some ideas on what we can do during potentially dangerous situations.

The “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.” video should have been shared with students. Not just shown and discussed at campus and departmental meetings. Showing and discussing with administration doesn’t really help if something were to happen on campus.

At the end of the day, it’s better to have a plan and not use it than to be left unprepared if something happens at City College.