Campus Open Forum Sees Lots of Comments, Concerns, Suggestions

UPDATE Wednesday, March 7, 2018 @ 6:30 p.m.:

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UPDATE Wednesday, March 7, 2018 @ 11 a.m.:

We know that many in our community are feeling anxiety about this week’s campus lockdown and related issues. To help, Cypress College will be holding group counseling for all students, faculty, and staff.

The first group counseling session is today, Wednesday, March 7 at 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in CCCPLX-414. A second group counseling session will be offered tomorrow, Thursday, March 8 at 2-4 p.m. in HUM-121.

Please share this information with others.
For more about the college’s response to this issue, and to provide feedback, please visit: http://www.cypresscollege.edu/featured-event/.

[Distributed via email to all students and employees. Posted to Facebook and Twitter accounts.]

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UPDATE Tuesday, March 6, 2018 @ 6 p.m.:

Cypress College held an open forum at noon today in CCCPLX-414 for students, faculty, and staff wishing to discuss the events related to yesterday’s campus closure. Participants included Cypress College President Dr. Schilling, the college vice presidents, the head of Campus Safety, and the communications director. Originally scheduled to last an hour, the forum was well attended by the campus community and lasted nearly two. Much information was shared, a large number of campus community concerns were expressed and talked about, and actionable suggestions made and noted for future discussion. For those who wish to share their comments, questions, and feedback, please see the survey link here: https://nocccd.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6X6cKD4ozS9LCZL

A video of the entire open forum will be available on this page and the college’s YouTube channel soon. In the meantime, the following is a short transcript with a couple of highlights from the forum:

Dr. Schilling: Thank you so much for being here. We are going to be videoing this. It is not being livestreamed because we wanted to be sure you came, but we will share this for those people who were not able to be here….

…I want to again thank you all for your professionalism and your patience, and everything that you did to reassure students, and I think we have some students, I’m really glad you’re here. We want to hear from you….

…So around 10:00 on Sunday night, Whittier Police Department received a call from the relative of a former student of Cypress that we eventually did identify, that there was a threat that he was going to shoot a school….

…We also discovered that he had been on campus twice last week in the Athletics Department. We also had an incident that we didn’t have an identified person where somebody had climbed up the mural and was on—I’m pointing up here, but it was actually on the balcony on the third floor of this building—and had been making mock shooting motions from there. So we immediately called the police, and this was Thursday, the 2nd. By the time we could get our campus security and tried [inaudible] the person had disappeared and we couldn’t find that person, so we were not able to identify….

…We also sent out a photo this morning. Again, we wanted to make sure we had all the information, updated the campus this morning, and the young man was still in custody so we didn’t feel there was an urgent need to clutter your email yet again yesterday, but we did sent that out today, so if you haven’t seen that yet, it was sent to all students and all employees so you have a picture of the young man.

The final thing that I wanted to add is that we, Dr. Bandyopadhyay, sent an immediate interim [inaudible] suspension. He’d been on suspension since 2016, but it had expired, so that’s what allowed him legally to be on campus last week. He is now, there’s now an interim suspension, and we are recommending expulsion, which is a forever ban, and that has to go to the Board. But interim suspension allows us to make sure that if he attempts in any way to come on campus, he will be removed.

The last piece that we’re looking at legal options so that we can issue a restraining order, which allows the police to ask. A suspension means we can ask him to leave, but when you have a restraining order, that means the police can arrest a person. So those are some of the steps we are taking to make sure this individual does not come back on campus ever….

…You will have time to ask questions as well. And feel free, as we’re going through some of these question, if you have additional questions in that theme or if we aren’t clear on what we’re talking about and you want clarification, we’ll be happy to answer at that time.

A.S. President Maria Alvarez: I think definitely a takeaway from this forum is all the students’ concerns that they take time out of their class. This forum was at 12, which is one of the prime time when students are in class, but they took time off to express their concerns and I think that’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We need to also not take lightly our safety campus concerns because our concerns are as equally as the students concerns as well. I think, what Robbie was saying that Associated Students are going to go to the Academic Senate meeting where they will be passing a resolution saying that professors will also support the walkout, I as the A.S. President am scared if we do have the march because who is going to protect our students that are marching if our campus safety isn’t armed? How are we going to, how am I going to tell people to group up so we can make a change when I’m scared that because we’re going to be in a group in a public place, they could risk their lives. I don’t want to risk anybody’s lives. I just want their concerns to be dealt with immediately because I do not like students saying they do not feel safe on this campus.

Dr. Schilling: So Maria, I hope that you don’t walk away from this feeling that the campus is not, is taking what you’re saying lightly, so that’s number one. And we will be talking about all of the things that we’ve heard. Again, nobody in this room is taking it lightly. We want to make sure that any action that we ever take is a true action and not just a placebo to make people feel better, safer, when it’s actually not actually doing something.

Again, I want to go to Parkland. There were armed guards on that campus. It did not prevent 17 people from being shot. Guns are the problem. But at the same time, we hear you, we will talk about this. I will just tell you my own bias, and that Cypress is a very special place. It’s based on our culture here, it’s based on our fabulous students, our fabulous staff and faculty. And when you change that dynamic by having armed guards at every checkpoint at this campus, you have a different campus. I want to make sure whatever we do is actually going to address the fear and address the problems rather than having a knee-jerk response to make people feel temporarily better, but changes the entire reason why people come to Cypress College.

I’m not saying we know what we’re going to do or what, but all of those things have to be discussed because there are unintended consequences to every decision we make and our goal is to always be as preemptive as we can and communicate with you honestly and openly. So, we can continue talking about this, but I don’t want you to walk away feeling that we don’t take your concerns seriously.

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UPDATE Monday, March 5, 2018 @ 12:10 p.m.:

OFFICE OF CAMPUS COMMUNICATIONS

For Immediate Release
March 5, 2018

Marc Posner, Director of Campus Communications
Office: 714.484.7006 or Cell: 714.493.6626

 

CYPRESS, California — On the evening of Sunday, March 4, 2018, Cypress College Campus Safety received a notification from the police about a threat from a former student that was deemed credible and timely. The Cypress College and NOCE Cypress Center were immediately put on lockdown and students and staff were notified of the closure via emergency text and email.

The person of interest was a former Cypress College student with a history at the campus that raised this tip to a credible threat. He was subject to student discipline and subsequently arrested in 2016 for felony vandalism on campus. He has also been on campus three times over the last two weeks displaying erratic behavior.

The former student has been detained by local law enforcement, and the campus has been cleared for opening at 12 noon today, Monday, March 5, 2018. Classes that start at 12 noon or after will be held today.  The Cypress College campus administration is confident that thorough steps were taken to address the threat.

“Thank you to the Cypress and Whittier police departments and the Cypress College campus community for their quick response to this issue,” said Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling.  “I am proud to say that our emergency processes and procedures worked and that our campus immediately reached out to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”

Students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend a campus forum on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at noon at CCCPLX-414 to hear from Dr. Schilling and Campus Safety, to ask questions, and address any concerns. In addition, the campus community members are encouraged to share feedback via an online form at http://bit.ly/2FgsTkU.

Cypress College and NOCE take safety very seriously and encourage all students, faculty and staff members to immediately report incidents and/or suspicious behavior to Campus Safety at 714.484.7387. In the case of an immediate threat, you should dial 9-1-1 and ask someone nearby to simultaneously contact Campus Safety for the most efficient response. Students, faculty, and staff members are reminded to adhere to safety tips such as walking in groups and utilizing Campus Safety escorts.

 

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[Distributed via text and email to all students and employees. Posted to Facebook and Twitter accounts. Shared via email with community partners. Posted to website.]

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UPDATE Monday, March 5 @ 10:05 a.m.:

Cypress College and NOCE Cypress will be open for normal business and classes beginning at noon on Monday, March 5, 2018. Any class that begins at noon or after WILL BE held today. Please check your emails and the campus website for any updates throughout the day.

[Distributed via text and email to all students and employees. Posted to Facebook and Twitter accounts.]

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UPDATE Monday, March 5 @ 7:55 a.m.:

The threat described earlier to the Cypress College campus has been resolved. Classes remain cancelled throughout the morning, and the reopening time of the campus is currently being discussed. It will be communicated when it is known.

Thank you to our partners at both Cypress and Whittier police departments.

[Distributed via text and email to all students and employees. Posted to Facebook and Twitter accounts.]

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UPDATE Monday, March 5 @ 6:16 a.m.:

Alert: Campus Closed, Morning Classes Cancelled
Cypress College classes are cancelled through noon on Monday, March 5, 2018. Students and employees are to stay off campus until notified otherwise. Police have received a credible report of a possible violence against the campus. Updates will be provided throughout the day and it is hoped that afternoon and evening classes will be held.

[Distributed via email to all students and employees. Posted to website.]

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Sunday, March 4 @ 10:44 p.m.:

Cypress College classes are cancelled through noon on Monday, March 5, 2018. Students and employees are to stay off campus until notified otherwise. Police have received a credible report of a possible violence against the campus. Updates will be provided throughout the day and it is hoped that afternoon and evening classes will be held.

[Distributed via text and email to all students and employees. Social media postings to Facebook and Twitter followed at 12:40 a.m.]

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