School safety concerns

Reported by Samantha Neff and Peter Villafane

Captain Rodrick Armalin spoke to the Academic Senate meeting on Monday, Oct. 7 to speak on active shooter situations and how faculty can be prepared.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is offering 10-minute information sessions about campus safety that professors can schedule to take place during their classes. There is also going to be an active shooter training session for faculty members this week on Tuesday, at noon in the Faculty and Staff Center. 

Armalin explained the chaos of being in a dangerous situation. 

“Being in an active shooter situation is like being in a car crash, it hits you and you dont know whats going on,” Armalin said. 

He said that the training will help prepare professors and provide information on how to keep their students and themselves safe.  

“I’m glad to say I think we’ve got some of the best participation out of all the colleges so far, thank you very much Pierce for caring about that,” Armalin said. “It only lasts for about an hour and it’s going to give you quite a good interpretation on what to do in an active shooter event. The instructor will also talk to you about what you could do to get your students prepared.” 

He shared with professors what their first steps should be in this kind of event and how they should assess the situation. 

“In the event, locking your door is one of the first things you should do. We use the term ‘run, hide, fight’, which means if you have a way to safely get off of campus and away from what’s happening, then take it,” Armalin said. “If you don’t, then secure your area that you’re at and hide, turn your phone off, be quiet and lock the door.”

Armalin said that he’s happy to hear how these sessions affect students and faculty. 

“Security here is highly important to us,” Armalin said. “We have a management team that wants to be involved, wants to get your feedback on not just security,  but in training we would like to see employer performance.”

Montevirgen said that campus security will be making sure there isn’t anyone on campus that shouldn’t be, especially in the evening. 

“We have asked deputies to implement security checks in the evenings to ensure that especially between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., unless you have a reason to be on campus, you shouldn’t be,” Montevirgen said. “If you have a justifiable reason to be on campus, we ask that you check in to the sheriff’s office just so that they know.”

Montevirgen said that these 10 minute sessions can be helpful to students in case of an event where they need to think fast. 

“Our focus in terms of campus security is making sure that campus security is a top priority for us here,” Montevirgen said. 

The meeting also included ASO Treasurer Brandon Le addressing the impeachment of ASO President Miguel Orellana. 

“Even though we’ve had a rocky start this semester, our entire Senate is still enthusiastic and ready to go despite that problematic event,” Le said. “We still have yet to figure out who is going to be the next president and what not.” 

Also during the Academic Senate, Political Science Professor Denise Robb talked about Day of Politics, an event aimed at encouraging students to voice their political opinions. 

Day of Politics will be held in The Great Hall on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m..

The event coincides with President Alexis Montevirgen’s effort to improve campus culture.

“I want to continue to foster a culture of transparency, collegiality, respect and encourage students on campus to participate and take those to heart as well,” Montevirgen said.

Communication Studies Professor Robert Loy said that debates encourage students to develop critical thinking skills.

“You’re able to argue and advocate over something, but then also have a developed reasoning toward something else,” Loy said. “I want our students to be better than our own politicians. I’m excited to see which arguments they choose to develop and to advocate for.”

Robb encourages professors to give extra credit to students attending Day of Politics.

“I think students can get a lot out of it,” Robb said. “They can register to vote and hear different sides debating important issues.”

The clubs debating will be the Pierce College Democrats, Students for Bernie, Brahma Leftists, Students for Social Justice, Political Science Society, MEChA de Pierce and Pierce College Vegan Society. Some of the issues that will be discussed include Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal.

There will also be a Political Opportunity Fair at Day of Politics with internship and volunteering opportunities.

Los Angeles City Council District 12 candidates Loraine Lundquist and John Lee will also be speaking at the event.