Last night I went to bed watching and listening to the news on the terrorist attacks in Paris yesterday. This morning I woke up listening to the news on the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. To say these attacks were horrific would be a huge understatement. There are over 120 people dead and the death toll continues to mount.
As I listened to the devastating reports, I could not help but ponder how we would react to such an attack if it happened in our own back yard. Would I know what to do if I were at one of those venues where these incidents occurred? Would you? Sometimes there is simply no time to react. But if there is time to react, what would you do? Would you run, fight, or hide? Well, it really depends on the circumstances. I recall many years ago as a freshman in Baltimore when on my first day on the job as a security guard, a young man pointed a gun at me. I ran (I was pretty fast in those days). What would you do?
This world is a much different world than what it used to be. Terrorists and other perpetrators of violence continue to plan and implement heinous acts against innocent victims? How do we respond? While some of these acts are directed at “soft targets”, others, as we all know, occur on college campuses such as ours. We must act to ensure the safety of our students and employees – for me as president, that is Priority one – safety first. Students who do not feel safe cannot learn, and employees who feel unsafe cannot be productive.
In a perhaps unrelated event, the president of the University of Missouri was forced to resign because of inaction. A Monroe News article reports that prior to resigning, he said (not a direct quote), “the university is working to draw up a plan by April to promote diversity and tolerance”. Really?? “Drawing up a plan in the midst of a crisis? Really!! Leadership is about implementation, not planning. Anyone can plan, but it takes leaders to implement. Why was he not having conversations with students who felt endangered while his team was planning? Why was he not focusing on some interim solutions?
Since the Umpqua Community College attack, and even before that, we at MCCC have sent out and re-posted information on our campus Emergency Safety Plan. That, in my opinion, is not enough. As we continue to plan a more comprehensive approach, we will implement additional safety measures and will leave no stone unturned to protect our students and employees. This is a crisis and we must respond to it as such! Please join us during Campus Safety week as we discuss and provide information on additional safety measures for all of our protection.