News: New security features at the HEC building

HEC lockdown button,<br /> third floor

HEC lockdown button, third floor

By Michael Shultz

Byline Staff

The HEC building on Riverside Campus has added security features: red lockdown buttons on each floor. While student and faculty reactions are mixed, the new feature offers an unprecedented level of security at Rogue Community College.

There are currently three lockdown buttons, one on each floor. When someone pushes one of the lockdown buttons, all exterior doors and a few internal doors (such as the stairwells) lock as well. Each door locks from the inside, meaning anyone can leave — but no one can enter.

The buttons were installed about a month ago according to Grant Lagorio, Director of Facilities and Operations for Riverside Campus. The doors that do not lock have manual lockdown features, and Lagorio said eventually every building at RCC will have lockdown capabilities.

Lagorio said they are not yet finished with the implementation of the lockdown feature. In the future, when the button is pushed, a pre-recorded message will let everyone in the campus know what they should do.

According to Lagorio, American’s history of violence on college campuses was the inspiration behind the feature being added. He said he hopes RCC will never have to use the feature — but that it is important to be prepared for the worst.

However, not everyone is pleased. Wolfgang Runzi, a humanities instructor on Riverside Campus, believes such serious security features conflict with the idea of academic freedom.

“Maybe I’m just too optimistic in humanity, but I’ve never seen the need,” Runzi said. “This is the first institution I’ve seen with such extreme security.”

Runzi believes the college is buying into a moral panic or overreaction to the threat of violence. He believes introducing such extreme security features brings an element of fear onto campus that was not present before.

He said he’d rather live with the risk of something happening than work in an environment that can become prison-like at the push of a button.

Like the fire alarms of yesteryear, Runzi wonders if students will use the buttons maliciously.

“It’s just a matter of time before somebody uses it to get out of a test or an assignment,” he said.

Greg Marton, a psychology instructor at RCC, had a more positive outlook on the situation.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” Marton said. “It’s just a concession we have to make to reality.”

Marton said the school is located in a very dangerous neighborhood. Many people have been assulted within blocks of camp-us, and at least one death has been reported.

But Marton also admires and trusts the facilities staff at RCC.

“I don’t think we need to second guess those taking care of us,” Marton said.

The reaction from students seemed to be neutral.

“I have no problem with security,” Greg Johns said. “I don’t think it’s necessary. If it’s something that costs a lot I don’t think it’s worth it.”

Johns also said he thought it would be too easy for anyone to just walk up and push one of the buttons.

Another student, Katie Stanislawski said the excess security makes her feel a little like she’s in a prison. She said she doesn’t think a lot could happen at a community college in Medford, Oregon.

“I really don’t think it’s necessary,” Stanislawski said. “I can’t imagine a situation where we’d need it.”

Lagorio said it is impossible to get locked into the building, since each door opens from the inside. The new features are simply a precaution, and are not meant to create an oppressive atmosphere.

“We’re always looking to build a safer environment,” Lagorio said. “You never know what can happen, so we’re preparing for the worst.”

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4 responses to “News: New security features at the HEC building

  1. Even though the new lockdown feature at the HEC may seem excessive to some, the feature is a far cry from a “prison”. Prisons are designed to keep people in, not out. This system allows those inside to leave if they wish, I don’t think prisons allow that. Perhaps Wolfgang and Katie could visit a prison or jail before they describe this security feature as a “prison”, or “prison-like”.

    If anything, this feature seems like a great deterrent to someone who may want to cause the sort of violence we’ve seen around the country. I believe that it is better to have such a feature and never use it, than to not have it and need it.

    I know when my daughter is ready to go to college I’d like her to attend a school with this type of security implemented.

    I appreciate the effort and foresight needed to implement this feature Mr. Lagorio.

  2. “I’ve never seen the need” or feels like she’s in a prison comments. In an ideal world we should not need this – we don’t live in an ideal world. I can say with 100 % certainty that the victims of Virginia Tech or Columbine or any of the other tragedies that occur in educational institutions never “saw the need” before the unthinkable happened.
    I pray we never need it but am grateful that we have it and no doubt Mr Lagorio would be most happy if it was NEVER used. I
    f students push this button to get out of tests etc then Iwould hope some kind of disciplinary action would be taken to make this less of an attractive option

  3. “manual lockdown functions”

    ahahahahahahahah you mean like an effing LOCK?!

    security my arse this is just some fat mall cop reject running around campus locking all the deadbolts.

  4. This is no better than the sham appearance of security that we now encounter in our nations airports. I take that back, it’s better, but only because it allows potential victims the possibility of escape. This system may be able to minimize the exent of violence but it most certainly can not, and will not prevent it.

    There is no deterent effect. A would be perpetrator will be able to effect his mayhem and escape the same way students and faculty can escape. It won’t keep him out as the alarm will not be sounded until he, or she, is well within the perimeter and already begun whatever mischief is in mind.

    If administrators are concerned about school security and truly want to deter any who might contemplate violence why do they ensure that they enter the facilities all but assured they will encounter no resistance and advertise that fact to any and all?

    Students and faculty are debarred the right to lawfully defend themselves by a school policy in direct violation of state law.

    Thankfully we have the 911 emergency call system and the police department. They’re only minutes away. Let’s hope we have minutes.

    I wonder, what is the policy of the Medford PD in such a case? Will they make an entry? I assume they’ve got the override codes to do that. Or is their policy the same as the vast majority of departments across the country. To cordon off the area and wait, wasting valuable time if, in fact, an assailant is still inside causing mayhem?

    I would recommend visiting the website Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) at http://concealedcampus.org/

    Our state law prohibits the very policy the school administration enforces which ensures that criminals will meet with no resistance on the RCC campus. Unfortunately the administration, and most other college administrations in Oregon, violate the law and our rights with impunity through the use of intimidation, threat of expulsion, and other means.

    Thankfully a young Marine from Western Oregon University is challenging such unlawful policies in the courts right now. I look forward to the day when University administrators must obey the law and students right to provide for their own defense is lawfully restored.

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