Vague community alerts cause concern

Nathan Acuña

After more than ten community alerts were sent out this semester, coupled with tensions following the presidential election, some students say they don’t feel safe on campus.

During the past three weeks,  fearful and unnerved students have been voicing their concerns to ASWC Senate. Many students say that their fear stems from the lack of detail and slow response time of the community alerts sent out by Campus Safety and Communications. 

Senator and Student Body Representative senior Christina Brown said students are upset about the alert system and say that it shows poor communication by administration during emergencies.

Feelings of frustration with communication emerged when students scrambled to gather more information when they witnessed a squad of eight police cars on Earlham Drive and in the Science and Learning Center parking lot on Saturday Oct. 29. This confusion led to panic within the student body and further concern over students’ safety upon seeing Whittier Police Officers on campus.

No specific details were provided to the student body from the College until administration sent out an email on Monday, Oct. 31. The email reported that a student wandered into Earlham Drive traffic and was taken to a hospital, and then into custody by Whittier Police Department. 

Students did not believe that the details of the incident were properly communicated, as the email left out the fact that the student was a person of color who was tased multiple times by Whittier Police. Others disagreed with the conclusion made in the email that the “incident posed no threat to the College community.”

Sophomore and Campus Relations Director Detrick Manning said because of this recent incident students of color are more afraid, and any interactions with Whittier Police Officers could now make students of color feel unsafe.

President Sharon Herzberger said in conversation with ASWC Senate that she understands students’ desire for more timely communication and alerts every time police officers are on campus.

Sophomore and Social Justice Coalition sophomore Chair Eryn Wells has found that, although students do say that they feel unsafe on campus and within their own community, they want to feel safe. “They would like to build a bridge with … anyone who has a role of power that is here to ‘protect’ so that everyone feels safe and comfortable honestly communicating,” said Senator Wells.

When asked to comment, Campus Safety simply recommended that students attend the discussion hosted by ASWC Senate, Social Justice Coalition, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion today, Nov. 17 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Club 88.