Town Hall Meeting Addresses Safety Concerns

Corinna Scott

Coinciding with a recent attack on an English professor on the first day of the semester, a Town Hall Meeting on Campus Safety in the auditorium Wednesday brought together a panel of experts to discuss safety procedures. The details of the case were not disclosed at the meeting.

On the panel were Chief Randy Adams and Captain Leif Nicolaisen from the Glendale City Police Department, Chief Steve Wagg and Captain Nidal Kobassi from the GCC Police, and Lisa Allred, a specialist on Clery Act.

“The Clery Act’s purpose is to help people protect themselves,” said Allred, in explanation of the Act.

The Clery Act was named after a female college student, Jeanne Ann Clery, who attended Lehigh University. She was raped and murdered in her dorm room by a drug and alcohol abuser.

Her parents, Connie and Howard Clery, fought the university, which had concealed from students the high incidence of violent crimes on campus. They said their daughter died because of what she didn’t know and that “crime awareness can prevent campus victimization.”

The result of their action is the Clery Act, a way for students to stay informed about crime statistics on campus such as burglaries, thefts, and assaults.

At the beginning of the meeting, papers were handed out with student behavior situations from non-threatening – such as students sharing information expressing suicide or self-mutilation in a creative writing assignment – to harmful, such as stalking of employees and individuals on campus and campus-owned properties.

Wagg began to read down the list, as was the focus of the meeting, when he was interrupted by a woman in the audience.

“Can’t you just send this to us in a memo,” she said. “We want to know about these recent incidents, not just about a general list of scenarios.”

“This list isn’t merely a begin list of responses,” said Allred in direct response. “The way I see it is this . (There is a situation) I’m a teacher–what should I do? (In this case?) I’m a student–what should I do? That’s when this list comes into play. Then, after the issue part of today, is to get feedback on incidents and have a system of responses.”

Audience members voiced their concern over the recent event. One in particular spoke of how anyone could just walk into his studio on the day of the incident and wanted to know why more details could not be disclosed that morning. Wagg said that if people know about the suspect it could be dangerous.

“It goes back to the dynamics of the case if this is an isolated incident,” said Kobassi.

Students and employees can usually request logs of criminal statistics through GCC police.

However, according to the Clery Act, if there is “convincing evidence” that the release of the information would “jeopardize the ongoing criminal investigation or the safety of an individual, cause a suspect to flee, or evade detection, or result in the destruction of evidence, such information may be withheld until that damage is no longer likely to occur from the release of such information.”

Because of the ongoing investigation and the danger that the suspect was to others, panelists said at the meeting that there were arrests made, but none of them were the attacker. Since this meeting the attacker has been arrested.

The meeting was coming to a close with discussion on a new e-mailing policy: it would be secure and color coded (red or orange) for future events such as this one, more information on the attack was promised for faculty members, and a lock-down policy for students and employees closely resembling a 1950s air-raid drill where students take cover under desks.