Associated Students Inc. continued the discussion about the ongoing installation of emergency locks throughout the university at Wednesday’s Senate meeting.
Sen. Sumaiyah Hossain introduced the first reading of new Senate resolution #2020-07, Lock All Classroom Doors and Building Facilities.
“I’ve heard student concerns about student safety when it comes to the credible threats that we’ve experienced,” Hossain said. “This resolution outlines the missions of ASI, our university and the university police department to ensure learning can occur in a safe environment.”
The resolution goes over important statistics of mass shootings, dating back to 2014 and the increase in these violent crimes.
“We urge the university to install functional locks that are up to date on all doors, regardless of the size and the classroom capacity,” Hossain said.
Several senators agreed that they needed to ensure the language of the resolution would urge the university to have complete transparency with the student population during, before and after the installation of locks.
“We want to make sure we’re holding the university accountable that this actually happens,” Hossain said. “I met with students who were concerned that this issue would go away and then nothing would happen. [Students] want a proactive response, not a reactive response.”
Sen. Jireh Deng moved to approve and Sen. Isabel Douvan seconded the motion.
“I was wondering if in this language we could include to encourage professors to go over some safety tips at the beginning of each semester,” Deng said.
Deng told the Senate that one of her professors took initiative and told her students that they needed to be “responsible for their own safety” following the confusion of the shelter-in-place that occurred Oct. 7, where people used belts keep the doors shut after getting a notice that the university had received a credible threat.
“If the doors of the classroom open outward, how do you prevent someone from coming in? There should be general information about safety that all professors [should] be required to share or include their syllabi that would help protect students,” Deng said.
Sen. Citlalli Ortiz trailed Deng’s comment and said she heard that only classrooms with 60 seats or more were going to undergo the installation of new locks, but received information that the university would begin with those buildings but all rooms would be updated.
Sen. Ryan Phong updated the Senate that he met with the University Police Chief about the ongoing process for the installation of the new classroom emergency locks. There are 235 spaces needing new locks; 38 have been completed at this time with a goal of 38 more by the end of the fall semester.
Bringing up the confusion that arose after the recent shelter-in-place, Sen. Dale Lendrum raised the question of whether staff and faculty were mandated to be trained for these emergency situations or it was an optional movement. It was clarified by the Senate that no such measure was required at this time.
Following that, ASI Vice President Leen Almahdi responded to Deng’s suggestion that training should be mandated for professors in regards to student safety.
“Unfortunately, that’s out of our jurisdiction, but we can incorporate language that urges the university to have these trainings for faculty and staff, because we can make it known with this resolution that this is what the students want,” Almahdi said.
Almahdi told the gallery that she was working with Hossain on the wording of the resolution.
Lendrum stressed the importance of faculty, staff and students coming together to collaborate to make a cohesive entity to make sure their voices are heard by the university and shared an anecdote about his experience teaching students during his master’s studies.
“A consideration that I always had to have, is ‘what is my learning environment? How many ways in? How many ways out?’ I would formulate my own plan for my own students because they come first,” he said. “It can be difficult when you’re trying to barricade doors with chairs.”
The next ASI Senate meeting will be Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. in USU 234.