Student Safety Top Priority For TCC Staff

Friday, October 2nd 2015, 7:31 pm
By: Tess Maune

Doctors say three of the seven people shot in the Oregon shooting were taken to one hospital. They say the patients had gunshot wounds to the head, spine and back. 

Two are still in ICU and one has been moved from ICU into a regular room.

The Army said the suspected gunman, Chris Mercer, flunked out of basic training several years ago but won't say why.

The ATF said he wore body armor and had six firearms at the scene and seven more in his apartment.

Officers who responded to the school killed him during a shootout.

Anytime there’s a campus shooting it highlights the need for security at college campuses across the country.

Tulsa Community College has 27,000 students on four main campuses and several smaller community campuses.

Administrators said they're doing what they can to make sure students are safe.

TCC, like the college in Oregon, isn't a traditional college; there's no residential life, and the majority of students are adults coming back to school or high school students.

Administrators said school safety is a discussion that happens daily, and that's something that will never change, according to Vice President of Administration Sean Weins.

“Effective teaching and learning doesn't happen if safety isn't a priority first. That priority has to be in place for us to fulfill our mission as a college,” Weins said.

The school is fulfilling that mission with the help of its police department.

TCC has 30 full-time and a number of part-time CLEET-certified police officers. At any given time, multiple officers are patrolling each campus.

“We believe that makes a big difference. The level of training and experience that those officers have really brings a diverse, functional strength, I believe, to the campus,” Weins said.

He said senseless school shootings, like in Oregon, hit home, even from a thousand miles away; and students, like TCC sophomore Alinane Chitseko, can relate to the fear and heartache.

“It brings it into perspective, like, this could happen to anyone. When you hear about it happening at the movies, you're like, 'Well, I don't go to the movies much.' But I go to college every day, so it really scares me,” Chitseko said.

She said she feels safe at TCC, and administrators said even when tragedies aren't fresh, security policies and procedures are constantly evolving.

Weins said, “I can tell you, it's an ongoing discussion here at the college. There's never a time here at TCC where we don't have leaders talking about how to make the campuses even safer, how to improve that safety here at the college.”

But Weins said anyone can act as school security by simply being aware.

“We also really believe strongly in the culture of reporting. If you see something say something, and that makes an important difference for us,” he said.

The school holds lockdown drills several times a year and uses a mass alert system that send emails, calls or texts to students, faculty and staff in emergencies or weather-related situations.

All of TCC's campus parking lots have emergency call boxes, and the school is in the process of adding 40 more.