STLCC under scrutiny after handling of Meramec assault, students react

Posted on 30 April 2013 by admin

Chancellor Dorsey takes full responsibility for mistakes made in handling the assault

By: KAVAHN MANSOURI

Student Governance Council President Philip Oehlerking, right, and SGC Vice President Oscar Zamora led a discussion on campus safety at the April 30 SGC Meeting.

STLCC has received a slew of negative feedback on the handling of the April 18 attack of Blythe Grupe. After five days of silence, with two additional alleged victims of Jevon Mallory coming forward in the media and the resignation of Campus President George Wasson, Meramec faces an uphill battle to regain its former reputation.

STLCC Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey said students should not have to worry about their safety at the April 26 board of trustees meeting.

“The other thing that has gone out is a letter of apology from me as the chancellor of this institution telling everyone… students, faculty and staff — that this will not happen again, we will do a better job and that we value and want to protect our students and make sure that they are in an environment that is safe,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey also spoke at a press conference on Friday, April 26 where she took full responsibility for the mistakes made in handling the assault.

“We’ve learned from that and we will be moving forward with making sure we have safe and secure campuses and that when students come to us to learn they will be there to learn and get an education without worrying about those things they shouldn’t have to worry about,” Dorsey said.

Grupe said the silence about her attack was unfair to the students of Meramec.

“I definitely wish they would have [said something],” Grupe said. “I understand they can’t give out confidential information like names and specifics. But I really think that it was important that they would have let the students know that this happened.”

Grupes said her classmates were unaware of the attack, she said.

“Other students I’ve seen were annoyed they just found out about it and that there wasn’t any mention of it before,” Grupe said. “I don’t think the school has addressed it at all.”

Mallory’s professor Linda Copeland said she first heard of the attack on April 23, and received no notification of Mallory’s expulsion other than Drop/Add Registration Activity on April 24. Copeland said her daughter, who lives in Kansas City, heard about the story and notified her of the attack.

On Tuesday, April 30, the Student Governance Council dedicated a portion of their bi-weekly meeting to discuss campus safety, Wasson’s resignation and the events of the past two weeks.

Student Natalie Smith said the college should notify faculty members when there is an incident on the campus.

“There needs to be a notification within 24 hours; that’s the biggest thing,” Smith said. “They need to notify the faculty members so the faculty members can notify the students. That’s one thing that was done in a previous instance where I felt like the campus wants me to make me feel safe.”

Smith said she found out about the attack from media, rather than the school.

“I found out through outside media what had happened at my school,” Smith said.

Student Jared Phillips said patrols should be 24/7 on campus.

“They’re doing it now [patrolling] but there’s no reason they can’t do it all the time. If it’s a matter of affordability; well you can’t put a price on our safety,” Phillips said.

Smith said she feels like the campus is prepared for certain scenarios, but is not completely safe.

“I feel like they’re prepared if there was a tornado, if there was a fire, if someone had a gun,” Smith said. “I feel like there needs to be something in place where [faculty] are told, even before we are, so they know how to handle the students asking questions as well. That was something one of my professors ran into.”

Jumping to conclusions can be dangerous, according to student Nick Clemens. He said the college should be careful in certain situations involving campus safety and privacy.

“If you look at the other side of this, what do we think everyone should be notified of? What should they be told? If there’s anytime someone who hasn’t had a warrant put out for them yet, and obviously in this case this person messed up and there should have been something put out there, in what circumstances do you want that to happen,” Clemens said. “Just because someone’s accused of a crime should everyone get their name? Should we get an email saying that something’s happened but who knows what and who knows who was involved or what happened.”

Clemens said not every situation is clear-cut when it comes to incidents on the campus.

“There are privacy concerns in something like this,” Clemens said. “This one is clear-cut. The ones in the future won’t be and that’s something you should look at before you make a blank decision, or make things overly cautious.”

Student Larron Vaughn said a part of the problem is the Meramec Campus Police.

“I mean no disrespect to the current security we have on campus. However, I think that it can be executed a little differently,” Vaughn said. “We call them security because they look like security. They don’t look like they’re cops, I don’t think they carry themselves that way.”

Vaughn said campus police officers should be knowledgeable about the culture of Meramec.

“If you’re in the Navy you learn how to swim. If you’re in the Air Force and you’re a pilot you should know how to fly a plane. If you’re on a college campus you should be very, very knowledgeable about that culture. I’d like to see police officers that speak to students, interact. I think they should be more present; I think that would help,” Vaughn said.

 

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