NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Is security doing enough to keep us safe?

SGA and Public Safety team up to better NECC’s safety

What was supposed to be a fun filled day, for some turned out to be stressful. NECC’s Spring Jam, which took place on April 10, was also the same day as College for a Day, when high school students could preview what it is like to be a student at Northern Essex, was a crowded, jam packed day. Student Government Association was tabling at Spring Jam to recruit and inform future and current students about SGA. Hannah Benning, SGA’s secretary and acting parliamentarian was one of the people tabling. While at Spring Jam, Benning described an occurrence at the event that left her feeling “helpless.” She said, “some of the high school students were stealing some of the objects off of the tables we had. I was surrounded by about 30 students at once, I was talking to one student who seemed interested in joining student government, but was distracted and felt helpless. When I looked over, some of the stuff off the table was stolen.” Security was not near the situation when it occurred, and Benning only saw them at the end of the event when they were taking down the signs.

I do believe security needs to be changed in some way, shape or form

Hannah Benning

Student Government Association is advocating for change on campus when it comes to public safety and security. They have begun to take action by holding meetings with administrators. Student Governments main goal with public safety is to make sure that there is more transparency between public safety and the students, as well a better understanding tostudents of exactly what security’s capabilities are and are not. SGA held a meeting  on April 26 with Michael McCarthy, Northern Essex’s Vice President of Administration and Finance and Deborah Crafts Director of Public Safety/ Chief of Police. During the meeting it was brought up that a dispatcher has been recently hired for Northern Essex. Another part of the discussion included the blue lights we have on campus, which are currently out of service, but are in the works to be fixed and to get the phones replaced. The blue light system is in place for when students feel unsafe outside, if they are walking back to theircar, or feel like they are being followed etc.

The blue light contacts the Haverhill police. Public safety and security can walk you back to your car if you ever feel unsafe as well, it was mentioned. In emergency situations, evacuation maps and lockdown protocols are trying to be implemented as well While security and Public Safety are top priorities for NECC, there is still a lot that can be done to improve what is already in place. Benning, suggested having bag check protocols and also said that “I do believe security needs to be changed in some way, shape or form. Students are aware that public safety is here to help, it’s just that we need more trained officers and different ways to make sure students are safe on campus.” If you are ever feeling unsafe on campus you can always contact NECC’s Public Safety line for emergency situations at 978-556-3333 or dial 911.