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Violence in Arizona reminds colleges to focus on safety

Valencia ensures security with Valencia Alert

By James Tutten jtutten@valenciavoice.com

Security and safety are everyone’s responsi- bility in a free society where we maintain per- sonal freedoms, while also looking out for the well being of others. The recent tragic shoot- ing in Arizona can teach a lesson in secu- rity and personal empathy here at Valencia. Jared Loughner, the suspected Arizona gun- man, recently attended Pima Community College, a campus smaller in size, but similar to Valencia in many ways. At Valencia, procedures dealing with security are handled by vice-president of Security and Safet , Tom Lopez, who oversees all four Valencia campuses. Lopez strongly believes when dealing with safety “nothing can hap- pen without information; knowledge is power.” For any on-campus disturbance, reports are filed

with the campus dean, and if needed, students are removed from the area and taken to speak direct- ly with the dean, or law enforcement, if required. The dean of students will then form a review of the instance and individual on a case-by-case basis. If the disruptive person is not a student at Valencia, or a guest, they are asked to leave school grounds and can be forced off property by security if nec- essary. Lopez points out that “if an individual is a danger to themselves or anyone else, Florida’s 72-hour Baker Act law can be applied for any type of assessment through law enforcement or mental evaluation.” ‘Nothing can happen with- out information; knowledge is power.’

-Tom Lopez VP Security Politically motivated violence has been seen in Florida over the past few months, with death threats against former congressman Alan Grayson during his reelec- tion campaign in November. In December, the near tragic scene when the Panama City School Board meeting was held hostage by a deranged gunman. As a precaution, any congressperson or special guests attending events at Valencia receive elevated security protection as part of their visit.

Valencia Community College Call boxes can mean the diÓĀÜerence between staying safe and getting stuck in a bad situation.

Several students at Valencia’s Osceola campus personally encountered a disturbing individual yelling at everyone in the front parking area in late September. He was yelling anti-religious rants that offendedmanystudents,someofwhomthreatened

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By Max Murphy Special to the Valencia Voice

Every semester Student Government Associa- tions across Central Florida’s Community Colleg- es gather to discuss pertinent issues surrounding students. Known as the Florida Community Col- lege Student Government Association, or FJCC- SGA, these meetings allow SGA’s to debate issues that will be presented to the Florida State Leg- islature, and decide on where their support lay. In the fall this meeting was held on Valencia’s West Campus, this term, the FJCCSGADistrict Two meet- ing was held at Brevard Community College in the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory . The first item was the Community Se -

The schools discussed legislative issues to be vot- ed on at the FJCCSGAState Conference in February. The issues included the Sustainability Initia- tive, Bright Futures, and the state budget in rela- tion to Community Colleges. They also discussed the Local Option Referendum and the Dream Act. Before the meeting closed, there was the discus- sion of the opening of all Executive Board posi- tions within FJCCSGA. Participants were encour- aged to campaign for these positions over the next semester with voting taking place later this term.

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