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Chico State leaders respond to student concerns on campus safety

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Chico State leaders respond to student concerns on campus safety

Students voiced their concerns about campus safety Friday afternoon in Colusa Hall.. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

Students voiced their concerns about campus safety Friday afternoon in Colusa Hall.. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

Students voiced their concerns about campus safety Friday afternoon in Colusa Hall.. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

Students voiced their concerns about campus safety Friday afternoon in Colusa Hall.. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

Julian Mendoza

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(Left to right) Krystal Tonga, John Reid and Gayle Hutchinson talk to students about suggestions on improving campus safety Friday afternoon in Colusa Hall. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

After rumors began to emerge about a suspicious suspect being on campus Monday morning, a conversation with administration was held in Colusa Hall on Friday regarding the safety of students on campus.

The conversation was a follow up of the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center’s open discussion on Tuesday with Chela Mendoza Patterson, associate vice president for student life.

Colusa Hall had been rearranged for the conversations with the tables moved to the sides of the room to allow for an open discussion that prioritized students sitting in the center of one of two circles. Other students and faculty sat among the outer circle and surrounded tables of the area.

President Gayle E. Hutchinson and University Police Chief John Reid sat in front of everyone. Krystal Tonga, program coordinator for the CCLC was the first speaker, introducing and facilitating the event.

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Students voiced their concerns about campus safety Friday afternoon in Colusa Hall.. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

After discussions of safety for students of color, communication among the community and University Police, discussion time was extended 30 minutes past its original ending time of 5 p.m.

“Right now we are exploring options for how we potentially can keep him off campus,” Reid said. “Whether that happens or not would be decided over time.”

“Student safety is one my top priorities on this campus (and) we need to keep all students safe.” Hutchinson said. “In this particular incident, which truly has racial motivation, it was important to reach out to our students of color.”

Hutchinson stressed that safety was a priority of campus for everyone in mind, but that she cannot guarantee safety. She stated that the community could work together in order to improve communication and trust.

“I actually think I have a really good communication with students,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson also stated that she would meet with more students including those in positions of power such as members of student government and the Associated Students.

However, many students still voiced their concerns about the communication given to following Monday’s event. Multiple students stated that the communication from official campus announcement emails appeared to be sugar coated.

Other concerns brought up had to do with the increased security measures that were discussed.

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Campus faculty and students were in attendance listening to President Gayle Hutchinson and University Police Chief John Reid talk about campus safety Friday afternoon in Colusa Hall. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

“For you all as students walking around this campus, I know that the additional police presence brings significant discomfort,” Tonga said.

Further discussions regarding campus safety and student concerns are in the works.

“I think everyone felt uncomfortable by it because when you’re an active shooter, you’re not asking what your race is, what your political affiliation is,” Samuel Akinwande, associated student director of university affairs said. “But specifically our students of color it impacted most.”

Akinwande wanted students to reach him if they had any questions. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Julian Mendoza can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JulianMTheOrion.

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Chico State leaders respond to student concerns on campus safety