Commuter campuses find it more difficult to protect students - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commuter campuses find it more difficult to protect students

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February 15, 2008

Albany-  Keeping college students safe on a commuter campus can sometimes be a challenge. Albany has two commuter campuses, Darton College and Albany Technical College. We spoke with both a day after a mass shooting killed students at Northern Illinois University to see what they do to keep students safe.

Another campus shooting has Albany's students, especially at commuter campuses like Darton College and Albany Technical College on edge.

"I'm always looking around trying to see, looking at strange people and you know, just observe my surroundings," said Lakecia Sutton, a student.

"This is really not a safe campus because everybody doesn't wear Id's," said Nathan Calloway, a student.

At Albany Technical College they realize it's a concern. It's why they're closing Lowe Road, developing ID badges for students, and contracting with Albany State Police for security.

"If someone wants to commit mass murder they're going to do it but what we need to do is develop plans that will prevent or reduce casualties that may occur on campus if such a situation occurs," said Emmett Griswold, Albany Technical College Dean of Academic Affairs.

Plans include teachers locking classroom doors, ten minutes after classes start, but we found classroom doors open. Neither school has Connect ED a way of alerting students or teachers if a gunman were on campus, that's changing for Darton College next month.

"With the system our president Dr. Sireno can send out and alert to the students and it can send it up to six numbers that the students have," said Krista Robitz, Darton College Director of Communication.

Darton College believes the key to keeping students safe is communication and keeping police visible.

"Friday our public safety officer sent out an email to all of the faculty staff and the students just reminding, be aware of what happened yesterday in Illinois," said Robitz.

Student say colleges need to remain vigilant about security so they can prepare for their futures, without the threat of violence.

One student suggested the possibility of metal detectors, but college officials say that's not practical.

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