Students voice concerns over safety at town hall meeting

Zak Kerr

The Student Government Association held a Student Town Hall Thursday, Jan. 16 for students to voice their concerns about how IU Southeast responded to the campus lockdown on Dec. 5. Interim Chancellor Barbra Bichelmeyer and Police Chief Charles Edelen were present to field the questions and concerns of students.

One of the main concerns voiced by those in attendance was that some students didn’t feel safe because some of the rules in place for cellphone use in the classroom that would keep them from seeing messages and warnings from IU Notify.

“A few professors this year made it so you could keep your phone on vibrate,” Amanda Sharp, secondary education senior, said. “But some of my professors have rules where if you have your cellphone out twice you fail, the class and I don’t feel very safe if you don’t have your phone and I don’t have my phone.”

Bichelmeyer said let the students know that the school has a notification system in the works to solve these communication issues.

“We are moving to a place where we can put voice-over notifications on our physical infrastructure alarms to say, ‘Gun on campus, secure in place,’” Bichelmeyer said. “Because you can’t be in a classroom and not know.”

Edelen said that IU Southeast is working to implement new security features on campus.

“There is a fire alarm upgrade in its final stages, it’s not quite done yet, but we’re going to have four programmable messages,” Edelen said. “One is to take shelter, which we would use in this type of situation, one is for evacuations, and one is an all clear.”

These messages would come through all the speakers and fire alarms across campus.

“So it won’t matter if the professor wants you to have your phone or not,” Edelen said. “You wont be able to avoid it. It’s in every room and every hallway. It will go campus wide.”

Micaela Dale, marketing senior, voiced her concern about some professors not knowing the campus procedure for dealing with an armed person on campus.

“I talked to some staff members, and they said they followed procedure on what to do because they had went to meetings about it,” Dale said. “But the meetings weren’t necessarily required. Is that going to be something that is now required for the staff, the teachers and the faculty, if something were to happen again?”

Bichelmeyer said they are working with the faculty task force to find an answer to this question. They would like to create a certification process, akin to CPR certification, where the faculty would need to go through several levels of training before being certified.

“I don’t know exactly what our best solution will be, but I’m sure it will be some combination of that,”
Bichelmeyer said. “And I am rather sure that we will ask for some confirmation or some document that the person has received the information.”

The meeting also covered getting locks for all the classroom doors on campus. Although it will take a large amount of time and money to retrofit all the classroom doors on campus with in-classroom locks, it is something that Vice Chancellor Dana Wavle is looking into and creating a budget for.