Thursday, April 19, 2007

NHMCCD leadership thinks facility is safe. They are as delusional as Cho.

The following two emails were circulated on campus by John Pickelman and Steve Head:

From: Pickelman, John
Sent: Wed 4/18/2007 10:39 AM
To: All Employees
Subject: Virginia Tech Tragedy

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As the impact of the Virginia Tech tragedy is felt across the country and most certainly on college campuses, I add my prayers and condolences to those of the nation for the senseless loss. A tragedy of such magnitude certainly gives us all pause and underscores our need to be vigilant. I want to assure you each that we take the safety and security of our employees and students very seriously. Although, we routinely review security and emergency response procedures to insure that all systems are in place and working properly, in light of the events this week, each college is undertaking a special review of all systems and procedures to insure that the NHMCCD campuses are protected and safe environments for those who work and study here. JP

From: Head, Steve
Sent: Tue 4/17/2007 9:22 PM
To: North Harris Employees
Cc: Pickelman, John; Laughter, Ray; Hill, Tom; Gilliam, Cindy; Byas, Renee S; Stubblefield, Judy; Lestarjette, Steve; Cooke, Sunita; Figueroa, Julia A; Gregory, Richard; Head, Steve; Luehrs-Wolfe, Linda; Oburn, Martha L; Westerfeld, Penny; Zizelmann, Nockie
Subject: NHC Security Discussion

NHC Faculty and Staff:

In response to the events at Virginia Tech yesterday, I met with Andre, Cher, Dick Gregory, Cyndie Burch, and Bennie this afternoon to discuss our situation and how we need to proceed (I returned from out of town after lunch). Many of you had questions and thoughtful suggestions that I think merit our full discussion as a college.

I think the entire college feels that we should review our current response plans and assess “lessons learned” from what occurred.

I’ve asked Cher Brock to lead a meeting of faculty and staff later this week to review the ideas and proposals that were forwarded yesterday and how we can as a college raise the awareness of any response plans. Bennie Lambert will prepare a note to all students with an update from the college and seek their input.

A couple of points worth noting:

-NHC is one of the safest colleges in the country. (All NHMCCD colleges are safe).

-NHC does have an excellent Emergency Response Guide that is provided to all employees.

-The NHC Police Department is generally prepared for emergencies and has responded appropriately in the past.

The problems we face in dealing with potential issues are several:

-NHC is an open campus with multiple entry points.

-NHC does not have a campus intercom or communication system (few colleges do).

-How to communicate with employees and students in an emergency—a major challenge.

In hindsight, I agree that we should have sent out a note to all employees as the events unfolded. I was out of town and didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of the event until late yesterday when my first note was sent. We will work on that in case something similar occurs in the future.

We will review some concrete proposals that came from today’s discussions and emails including installation of LCD panels in all buildings with notices of emergencies on campus; posting current emergency numbers in all offices and classrooms; installing signs with emergency numbers in the parking lots (May); and possibly placing cameras in various buildings.

I think we all realize that this could happen at NHC. I ask again that you remind students that if they are having personal issues or show signs of abnormal behavior, NHC has an excellent Counseling Office. If that doesn’t work, let Bennie’s know so we can determine if the situation is serious. Similarly, we have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that is covered by insurance. Participants are not revealed to the college, but we will assist employees with personal issues if they ask.

This is a college wide issue, so if you have ideas and suggestions, please feel free to share them with your supervisor, dean, Cher, Andre, Bennie, Dick Gregory or Claude Taylor, Cyndie Burch, Dorothy Reade, Alan Hall, Kathy Bible, or me. We will include any interested person and give full consideration to every idea.



I have news for John Pickelman and Steve Head, if they think the campus is safe, they are delusional.
Let us fisk, shall we?

"-NHC is one of the safest colleges in the country. (All NHMCCD colleges are safe)."

If you think that just because nothing has ever happened that it cannot, you sir are stupid. That is like saying that just because you have never died in a car accident in your vehicle that the vehicle is somehow inherently safe. Everyone with half a brain understands that that only proves that you have been lucky enough that it has not happened to you yet, not that it cannot ever happen. Safety is a relative term with no objective means of measurement short of statistical probabilities.

"-NHC does have an excellent Emergency Response Guide that is provided to all employees."

Are instructors trained to hold this manual up to stop bullets or something? Is the manual printed on Kevlar or something? It is a MANUAL. A manual is no better than the person implementing it's contents, if the person does not execute the procedure, the manual is nothing more than a doorstop. I'd be willing to bet most of the employees skimmed it at best and promptly forgot over 50% of what was in it. It was yet another manual that the administration dropped on their desk about something that was unlikely to ever happen so it's priority was probably not terribly high for most readers. This sounds like someone is trying to build a case for plausible deniability in a court of law, not someone who cares about the actual outcome. The statement screams "Don't blame me! We published a PROCEDURE!"

"-The NHC Police Department is generally prepared for emergencies and has responded appropriately in the past."

How many cops does the district have? Over how many campuses? Even for the ones on the campus that is having the shooting, how long would it take for them to be alerted and to respond? Cho on average spent about 30 seconds to a minute in each classroom. He shot something on the order of 60 people, that could not have taken all that terribly long to accomplish. I figure, if they humped it, a cop could get from one end of the NHC campus to the other in about 3-4 minutes. But how long would it take to get the information to them? Since the communications system campus wide is non-existent, how exactly do you plan to inform the police that such a rampage is underway?

All three challenges Steve Head lists are correct.

So, how do you secure the campus? Here is a suggestion: Remove the restriction on CCW holders legally carrying on campus. Your cops cannot be everywhere all the time and even if they were, they are under no legal requirement to protect everyone all the time. A restriction on carrying a weapon on campus only applies if the person cares to comply. Cho had two weapons in his dorm on campus in violation of VT's edict, obviously HE didn't care to comply. If the cops cannot protect the faculty and students, and the college cannot protect the faculty and students, then it is up to the faculty and students to protect themselves. CCW holders are much less likely to go nutters on you and hose down the building. They have undergone background checks and training. Is the system foolproof? No it is not, no system is, but the statistics bear out that CCW holders are far more law abiding than the general population.

Here is another suggestion: Put in a two way intercom into every classroom. A message board is the stupidest idea I've ever heard floated. Are you going to put one in every classroom? if so, wouldn't an intercom be much more useful? The wiring requirement is virtually the same, and most classrooms are already wired with Ethernet, so a VoIP solution should not be difficult or terribly expensive to install. Surely someone has designed and sold such a system. But even assuming they have not, pulling wire for an analog intercom is not rocket science.

A message board is one way communication. But how do you report an incident in progress if you don't have an effective means to talk back? This sounds more like a means to broadcast college propaganda instead of emergency information.


Anonymous rideuponthewind said...

And here's another question or two, Rorscach:

1) At the NHC Campus, the 1st Responders are at least a quarter mile off property down the road from the campus "proper." Why?
At what cost to the taxpayer? I'll tell you - at least a quarter of a million dollars. They cannot even tie into the existing communication system within the college, but spent megabucks for a satellite tie-in. Why? Poor planning! Empire building? Certainly not for "security" reasons.

2) How much money was spent on "security gates" at The District Headquarters? Over a hundred thousand dollars at minimum. Who approved those expenses, and what possible scenarios were presented to the board that prompted them to expense out taxdollars for a "select few" district employees?


April 19, 2007 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have covered this well. If reading the words of the ignoramus that wants to be kin will make me safe, then more power to him and his lot....

It's about time we have a 'Chief' that can tame the Indians and renegades with their simple raising of their academic scepter!

A superhuman feat in itself no doubt....

April 20, 2007 8:39 PM  

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