Securing a Capital Grant appropriation of $750,000 was just the first step of many in place to keep the campuses of Clark State Community College safe.
“The safety of students and employees is our number one priority,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State.
The federal government requires every college to file an annual campus security report. The report identifies certain crimes committed on college campuses. In 2015, Clark State had no reportable crimes committed on any of their three campuses, but Clark State opted to keep safety a top priority. “Our priority when we submitted the Capital request was safety and security upgrades across our campuses,” said Joe Jackson, vice president for business affairs at Clark State. “The safety team is reviewing and prioritizing what those additional safety measures will be.”
Clark State currently has a three-tiered safety structure, including a safety committee, building project officers and a crisis response team. The safety committee is charged with funneling safety concerns from the staff and faculty to administration; building project officers offer a decentralized strategy of volunteer staff and faculty who are intimately familiar with the emergency plans and are charged with initiating a response to an emergency incident; and the crisis response team is a management team charged with establishing a wider institutional response to a large emergency incident.
Tom Duffee has been with Clark State for eight years. In addition to his role as Emergency Medical Services program coordinator, he now also serves the college as risk management coordinator. He is responsible for identifying, evaluating and analyzing risks inherent to the operations of the college and will formulate, implement, administer and evaluate risk management strategies to efficiently manage these risks.
“We are constantly surveying our current processes and infrastructure to determine how we may improve safety awareness and response,” said Duffee. “Our goal is to support an overriding culture of safety – trying to anticipate and prevent emergency incidents from the everyday issues to the most catastrophic.”
All employees have access to Clark State’s Mobile Emergency Response Plan, and specific verbiage is included on every syllabus for each class taught at Clark State. “Ideally, this gives the instructor an opportunity to cover these issues with all students during the first week of class,” said Duffee.
Duffee said Clark State is also focusing on improving communication strategies on campus. “We have just implemented a new software program that permits us to interrupt every PC on campus with an emergency alert,” he said. “Our plan is to combine that strategy with our current capability of sending instantaneous emergency text and e-mail notifications to students, faculty and staff.”
By sending alerts using these technologies, Clark State will be able to keep everyone associated with the college informed of any ongoing emergency events, along with directions on how to maximize personal safety in light of those events.
Ensuring safety is a joint community effort. “We have a very close relationship with the City of Springfield Police Division, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Clark County Emergency Management Agency, the Springfield Fire and Rescue Division and the Beavercreek Police Department – agencies that would respond to any incident at Clark State,” said Duffee.
Duffee said Clark State is also working with Wittenberg University to establish a series of mutual aid memorandums to ensure a unified and cooperative response to any major incident that may strike either institution.