Topics included parking, Victory Center and active shooter drills.
By Austin P. Taylor
The college president and members of the Student Government Association discussed making active shooter training available to students.
Dr. Robert Vela met with the students in Fletcher Administration Center Nov. 17.
“We often have these trainings that are so passive. We watch, and ‘OK, I got it,’” Vela said. “But when it happens, do you really know what to do? And the only way, I think, is to physically participate in it or to watch a full-blown live demonstration, not just a passive video.”
Vela said he discussed this issue with the presidents of the other colleges.
He said he has considered trying to set up simulated scenarios in the mall.
Vela said he wants students to be able to effectively react to situations, such as an active shooter scenario.
Janae Johnson, risk management coordinator for this college, said shootings that take place on a college tend to be perpetrated by someone from the campus population, which is why this campus uses the lockdown procedure to keep students and faculty in one place so the threat can be isolated.
SGA was also concerned with the seeming lack of available parking spaces at this college.
SGA President Kayla Salwey asked Vela about the parking situation, as the lack of available spaces is a common complaint among students.
Vela said he wants to see if Tobin Lofts parking spaces will be opened to students in the garage on the corner of Evergreen and Howard streets. Vela said he’d like to try to get the spaces open, at least during business hours.
Vela also said this college needs to better monitor the vehicles parking on this campus. Vela said he’s requested this college require parking permits for its students.
Vela said these were the best solutions to combat the parking problem, short of building a third parking garage.
Should this college use parking passes, it will be the only one of the Alamo Colleges to require parking permits.
Parking decals were discontinued in fall 2013. The Alamo Colleges district board decided to charge students an access fee of $25 as part of tuition, whether they drive to campus, or arrive in any other manner.
Vela said comparing the parking situation of this college to the others within the college district is hard because this college has a larger workforce than the other colleges in this district. This college is also the only college in the district that has student residences.
“We can’t monitor who’s on campus and who’s just parking here, without a permit,” Vela said. “I’m wondering how many of these spots are just taken up by average citizens who say ‘wow, prime parking!’”
After arriving at this conclusion, the meeting then began to focus on veteran support and Victory Center, which is still under construction.
SGA then turned to student veterans and how this college will support that population in the future.
Vela highlighted the services that will be available in the upcoming veterans center.
“It’s everything you’re getting now at the veteran’s center,” he said. “In addition to that, it’s how can we partner with the community to provide a resource.”
Vela said certain resources available at the Victory Center would rotate out to meet the needs of this college’s community. This means that the services available at the Victory Center can and will change as needed.
“Maybe there’s an agency out there that really helps with developing a new small business,” Vela said. “Everyone will know a schedule of what’s coming.”
Vela said there will be a survey to determine the resources students would like to see in the center.
Registration, support services, financial aid, job training, counseling and VA certification will be permanent resources at the Victory Center.
“I don’t want you to have to step foot in another building. We need to have it all right there,” Vela said.
Vela said the center would be open by mid-February.
For more information on the Student Government Association, call 210-486-0133.