Southwest security focus of recent Pizza with the President
In the wake of the recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting tragedy in Parkland, Florida, President Tracy D. Hall provided an overview of the public safety training and resources available to students, faculty and staff in an emailed letter. She and Southwest staff also provided a more detailed review of the College’s security stance and resources during a presentation at the recent Pizza with the President.
The Student Government Association’s Macon Cove Campus Representative Sabrina Washington moderated the event that featured representatives from Police Services and Public Safety, the Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team (BETA), counseling, Equity & Compliance and social services.
Police Services/Public Safety Director L. Angela Webb shared with those in attendance at Macon Cove and via video at the Union Campus and Maxine Smith and Whitehaven centers an overview of the RAVE system, its purpose and how to sign up; the College’s active shooter training videos and exercises and activities; and the recent training undergone by the Southwest Emergency Response Team (SERT) and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).
BETA is a multi-disciplinary group of Southwest employees who meet twice a month to identify, assess and reduce threats to foster a safe campus environment. BETA Team Chair Phoenix Worthy shared details on how to access the BETA form online and situations appropriate for taking a minute to complete the online form. “If you feel threatened or know someone who may be a threat, by all means, fill out the BETA form,” he said. “If you are witnessing a crime or disturbing scene in progress, call campus police right away. Do not fill out the BETA form.”
Equity and Compliance Executive Director Monika L. Johnson shared information on the department’s responsibility to investigate and make recommendations relating to the resolution of internal employee and student complaints of discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a covered veteran and genetic information. “All investigations undergo extensive review using the Office of Equity and Compliance case processing map,” she said. She also announced their current Title IX video contest that features prizes for students with the top videos.
The College hired Julia Rhea as a full-time mental health counselor to provide services to students in crisis due to anxiety, depression, domestic issues and other stressors. Rhea encouraged students to seek her assistance at the first sign of trouble Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in B building, Room 227 on the Union Avenue campus and Tuesdays and Fridays in Whitehead building on the Macon Cove campus.
Southwest Social Service Coordinator Chauntay Harris alerted students that she is there to help them with a variety of basic needs, such as housing and transportation. “Our goal is to help students achieve physical, mental and emotional wellness,” Harris said of the Social Services Department. “Please come and see me. I can help connect you with social service agencies in Memphis through the many connections I have developed over the years.”
The question and answer session featured students asking questions ranging from refund check scheduling, programs for nontraditional students with disabilities, transfer advising and library meeting room availability. Faculty and staff provided the latest information on these services and how to connect with the appropriate departments for more information.
One student from the Union Avenue campus commented that he has seen a major improvement in the College’s customer service delivery. Dr. Hall thanked the student for providing positive feedback to College leaders. “It is so nice to hear this feedback as we have worked hard to improve how we serve you. I thank the faculty and staff for their diligent efforts over the past two years.”
Pizza with the President is held quarterly to provide students a forum to speak directly with President Hall and the College’s senior administration.