College district chancellor to discuss campus safety

The Coast Community College District chancellor will respond Wednesday to campus safety concerns that faculty voiced earlier this year.

This spring, the academic senates at Orange Coast College and Golden West College passed resolutions hoping to spark a dialogue with the administration about security.

OCC faculty members listed some specific worries they have such as doors opening outward or locking only from the outside and uncertainty about what to do in a lockdown situation.

Academic senate members said highly publicized campus shootings — like the deadly attacks at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December and at Santa Monica College in June — stoked their concern.

In a report delivered at the district's board of trustees meeting Wednesday night, Chancellor Andrew Jones plans to address some of those issues in broad strokes and reassure professors that safety is a priority for the district, spokeswoman Martha Parham said.

"I think he just wants to acknowledge we not only hear you but we share your concerns," Parham said.

One of the college district's hurdles is that it operates three different schools, OCC in Costa Mesa, Golden West in Huntington Beach and Coastline Community College, which has small campuses scattered across the county, Parham said.

Each college has individual safety plans and responsibilities, Parham said, so the chancellor will be speaking generally about things mostly applicable to the district as a whole.

Despite faculty concerns, administrators have maintained that adequate safeguards are in place.

"It's not that we haven't done these things. It's just that perhaps we haven't communicated them as widely as we need to," Parham said.

OCC is also in the middle of reviewing how it would respond to an active shooter on campus. In July, it hired a safety training consultant to review its procedures.

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