DVC lacks safety training

Katharine Hada, Co-editor-in-chief

Campus safety training, or lack there of, is a topic of great concern to the Diablo Valley College Classified Senate, a group of campus faculty and staff members who oversee college governance processes.

Jessica Martin, who spoke with the new campus police chief about setting up safety training programs, told the senate the response was, “‘Whatever kind of training you want. Whenever you want to start. What do you want to do first?’ We’ve never had that much of a response before.”

“Safety is such a sensitive topic, it’s one of those things where I have to be careful of how I approach it,” said Martin. “I can’t just run with ideas for safety workshops and get people to go. I have to make sure the right people have to be informed and ok with it beforehand.”

The classified senate realizes this deficit in student services and safety training, however they also realize the reality of conflicting schedules. Between people like those on the classified senate who have multiple DVC related jobs, and those in the counseling office who only work every other Friday, it’s difficult to get everyone in one place at one time.

There is also simply not enough staff to cover the daily tasks of attending to students’ needs and attend scheduled training sessions. According to the career opportunities listed on Contra Costa Community College District web page, DVC is looking to fill four new positions for this upcoming semester in the counseling center alone.

With busy schedules until the end of the semester, faculty and staff members will not have the time to have a safety meeting until June at the earliest, but realistically it would be closer to the beginning of the fall semester in August. Which will be beneficial for students and faculty in the fall, but not sooner.

Lesley Agostino said, “There is a need and room for improvement,” in reference to the delayed response to an accident involving a chemistry club member and an exploding beaker during DVC’s club day, Wednesday March 30.

Active shooter training and mental health response training are the two of most concern to the senate. Another concern is the response time from police services in general, and how faculty, staff and police services can work together to provide faster response to student needs.

In their mission statement, police services is required, “To provide excellence in protection and service to the college community. We shall endeavor to ensure a safe and secure environment conducive to a positive social and educational process.” But with a campus that serves over 22,000 students each semester, in the event of an emergency the handful of campus police we do have are not enough. 

So where does that leave DVC on the campus safety scale? Unfortunately, DVC is currently unprepared. With no one to pick up the slack when faculty and staff take off an hour to attend a training, students and staff are seeing negative side effects on both ends.