ASUO campus safety public forum addresses student concerns

The Associated Students of the University of Oregon organized a public forum regarding campus safety tonight in 282 Lillis. With six panelists from different backgrounds and positions at the UO, the forum attracted more than 40 students and lasted over an hour, with constant interaction among students and panelists.

ASUO Chief of Staff Casey Edwards and UO student Sydney McBride started the forum by addressing their concerns about campus safety. Besides pointing out the lack in infrastructure on campus, Edwards also criticized the university as “communications focused” rather than addressing the issues directly, saying there is no actual procedure in placed in case of an active shooting on campus, fire, earthquake, etc.

The six panelists then started to share their opinions and experiences on the matter. President of Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation Shawna Meechan, and Social Sciences Feminist Network Coordinator Nicole Francisco said graduate teaching fellows have no comprehensive training from the university to deal with emergency matters.

“Zero, zero, zero training on this,” Meechan said. “I was only sent a link to a webpage that basically said the university will send out a text message or email.”

Panelist Jerry Berg is a UO political science professor, member of the Faculty Union Assemble and a representative of United Academics. Berg said he has faced with threats on campus more than once. He believed the reason why the administration has not addressed campus safety is due to the high costs and the fact that people have short memories about tragic events.

Regarding to the lack of locks on classrooms, Vice President of  the Service Employees International Union  Johnny Earl said most newly built and renovated buildings can be locked by remotes with proxy locks, but the more permanent methods are not in placed because administration positions alter every four to five years.

“Money is always a factor, but the admin thinks we live in a bubble, and every time they are wrong,” Earl said. “There are new alarms that have not been activated in 12 years in Oregon Hall.”

UO fifth-year student Dante Haruna represented the Multicultural Center. Haruna said the community also has to talk about how to educate students about masculinity, gender and race to prevent shootings due to hate crimes.

UO freshman Mohammed Zaidan spoke out at the forum agreeing with Haruna.

“Education is the key thing to stop the issue,” Zaidan said. “We need to move forwards and get more involved.”

A concerned parent, Tani McBride whose daughter and son are currently enrolled at the university, said it’s also important that parents be involved in the conversations, pressuring the university to take solid actions to protect students.

Edwards said the administration was aware of the event, but he felt if someone from administration was at the meeting, they would spend time countering what was being discussed instead of contributing to the conversation.

The next step is to pass the basic resolution through University Senate and put pressure on Johnson Hall, Edwards said. He also planned to spread the campaign on campus to gain more support.

The whole forum was recorded by the ASUO. For more information and questions, contact [email protected]

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Tran Nguyen

Tran Nguyen

Crime and Court senior reporter, specializing in sorting through non-interactive spreadsheet. Formerly reporting on ASUO, Housing and Construction.

Send tips to [email protected] Follow me on Twitter @tranngngn. K thanks bye.