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California Faculty Association invited faculty members to voice their individual campus safety opinions

Topics of concern included faculty safety in the classroom, utilities and students.

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A forum geared toward faculty safety took place Wednesday at the Karl Anatol Center and allowed 40 members of Cal State Long Beach to voice their concerns about protocol in the event of an emergency.

Deborah Hamm, California Faculty Association representative and education lecturer,  led the discussion alongside Mark Wiley, associate vice president of faculty affairs at CSULB. Less than an hour into the conversation, the forum was momentarily interrupted after a table of faculty stood up and walked out halfway through the discussion, stating that their concerns were unwelcomed and minimized.

Faculty, staff and administration attending the forum asked to remain anonymous, as the event was slated to be a safe space for them to speak openly without judgement.

In light of Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas, which claimed the lives of 59 people and injured more than 500, concerns of what to do in the event of  an active shooter, were expressed.

The majority of attendees also felt as though the training offered to full and part-time staff and faculty by the University Police Department wasn’t sufficient enough to assist them in the event of a threatening circumstance on campus.

UPD was not contacted in time for this article to comment.

Faculty urged Hamm and Wiley to create more significant measures when it comes to troubled and disruptive students. They felt as though a faster response time on behalf of UPD in case of an emergency or dangerous situation during class was imperative and that administration needed to make faculty safety more of a priority.

“It is not our purpose to solve the problems today, but to know what your concerns are,” Hamm said.

A number of hands went up in the air as staff members waited anxiously for a turn to share their experiences on campus.

Various building safety concerns were examined during the open space, and faculty talked about the classrooms in the psychology building and Liberal Arts 2 lacking the ability to lock from the inside, making them unsafe in the event of an active shooter or threat on campus.

With reports of poor cell reception in Liberal Arts Buildings 1 and 5, faculty members worry they will not be able to reach University Police during an emergency.

Many professors and faculty felt as though their needs have been ignored for quite some time now, saying they’ve been deemed less important. One attendee stated she has knowledge of safety services available for staff members, but does not feel any sense of community amongst the departments.

A staff member, who could not be named, said the nursing buildings do not provide adequate shelter during an emergency.

Multiple professors also voiced opinions regarding proper safety measures for their students during an emergency. Administration was urged to create an updated safety protocol to quell faculty’s fears.

“Overall, I think [the forum] went well,” Hamm said. “It was a chance for people to actually air their views. We don’t necessarily like or agree with all the views that were aired, but there are huge concerns that were listened to and that was the purpose.”

Hamm ended the meeting by affirming that another open forum discussion would be held in the future.

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