PODCAST: Scuttlebutt: A semester of threats
- Kate Bent, Editor in Chief, Anna Tran, Reporter, Liz Hanna, Features Editor, Samantha Griffen, Reporter, Alexys DeMaria, Arts + Culture Editor, Colin Sweeney, Multimedia Editor
Threats and incidents nationwide have raised personal safety concerns for many Americans. Within the Coast Community College District, including Orange Coast College, multiple incidents have led students to ask, "Am I safe?" This edition of Scuttlebutt reviews these incidents and examines OCC's emergency preparedness, including a visit with Campus Public Safety Officer Tim Winer.
NOTE: This podcast includes references to violence, including sexual assault, that may be upsetting to some listeners.
Anna Tran (00:01): Listeners should know that this podcast contains references to violence including sexual violence. That may be upsetting to our listeners. Listener discretion is advised.
Liz Hanna (00:15): It seems like in recent years, the idea that the world is a dangerous place has become increasingly apparent.
Anna Tran (00:21): According to ABC News, there have been 202 mass shootings this year, as May 8th.
Liz Hanna (00:27): Our sense of safety and security has been shaken with events every passing day. And this uneasiness has permeated the Coast Community College District and the Orange Coast College campus with threat after threat. This semester,
Anna Tran (00:41): I'm reporter Anna Tran,
Liz Hanna (00:42): And I'm features editor Liz Hannah. This is Scuttlebutt from Coast Report, the student voice of Orange Coast College.
Anna Tran (00:59): This has been one eventful semester with unfortunately one too many calls to the Costa Mesa Police Department.
Liz Hanna (01:05): Exactly. It felt like we were having an incident every week.
Anna Tran (01:08): I can think of a couple instances off the top of my head right now. For starters, everything at Golden West was a major topic of discussion this semester. We
Liz Hanna (01:15): Cover that event on last week's edition of Scuttlebutt. If you haven't heard it yet, we discussed multiple incidents and where that situation is currently, and
Anna Tran (01:23): We also had that fight breakout on campus between two students.
Liz Hanna (01:27): We had a former student with a history of threats and vandalism break. The restraining order the campus had against him this semester by publishing a blog post directed towards campus public safety, and a faculty member who he had a history with.
Anna Tran (01:40): I remember reading that story written by our sports editor, Timothy Hessen in April as well. There was an unrelated but similar incident two days later at the Waterfront campus.
Liz Hanna (01:50): Yes. And for more on that, we have brought in reporter Samantha Griffin, who has done a lot of reporting on the Waterfront campus this semester. Welcome, Samantha.
Samantha Griffen (01:57): Thank you so much for having me.
Anna Tran (01:59): What can you tell us about that incident? You happened to be there that day, right?
Samantha Griffen (02:03): Yes, I was there so I could film some clips for a TikTok about the Waterfront Campus Open House. I was being given a tour by a faculty member when we came across the former student holding the boycott O C C Stein on the back of the sign, he had listed current employees by name and his grievances with the campus itself.
Liz Hanna (02:24): How was the mood of the campus in regards to him being there?
Samantha Griffen (02:27): Everyone was displeased with his presence, but no one felt threatened with him being there. I gathered that this was not the first time something like this had happened and people were not surprised.
Anna Tran (02:36): I heard you were also on campus during the incident yesterday when it was reported that someone possibly had a weapon on campus.
Samantha Griffen (02:43): While I'm gonna be honest, I had no idea that there were any issues until I arrived home and received the crime alert by Campus Safety that had said an incident had occurred between 2 45 and 3:20 PM Then later saying the police had completed their assessment and have left campus. After reading the port, I still had many questions regarding the specifics of the incident.
Liz Hanna (03:05): Reporter Sidney Field and editor-in-chief Kate Bent, went to the campus to find out more. We already had a description of subject. He has curly hair and was wearing a black shirt and was last seen near the Litton laying Building. The Coasta Mesa Police Department was called to assess the area and look for the possible suspect, but found nothing
Anna Tran (03:24): On our podcast Production day May 10th. There was a nationwide threat of violence that was shared on social media, but later deemed not to be credible. This follows a similar threat that happened on May 5th Coast Report will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.
Liz Hanna (03:37): Thank you, Samantha, for your time. Thank
Samantha Griffen (03:40): You for having me.
Colin Sweeney (03:48): Welcome back. This is Coast Reports multimedia editor Collins Sweeney, and we are continuing our coverage of threats on the Orange Coast College campus. This semester we brought in Arts and Culture editor Alexis d Maria, who reported on O C C, public Safety and the Coast Community College District's hiring of a Clear Act consultant. Welcome, Alexis.
Alexys DeMaria (04:03): Thanks for having me.
Colin Sweeney (04:04): So Alexis, talk to me about the district's decision to hire.
Alexys DeMaria (04:07): Yes. So on March 1st, the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees approved the contract for three Cleary Act consultants, one for each of the three colleges in the district, though all three consultants report to Jim Rudy, O C's, director of Public Safety.
Colin Sweeney (04:20): Before you speak about consultants, could you refresh the listeners on what the Cleary Act is?
Alexys DeMaria (04:24): Of course, the Gene Cleary disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or simply the Cleary Act was signed into law in 1990 and opened the Gates forever. Changing leg legislation about colleges and how they report crimes. Colleges that receive any form of federal assistance, including federal student aid, AKA FAFSA, must abide by mandatory reporting requirements for certain on-campus crimes
Colin Sweeney (04:46): Only certain crimes.
Alexys DeMaria (04:47): Yes, colleges must include four specific categories of crime data. These include the criminal offenses of murder, non negligent and negligent manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Schools also must provide data on hate crimes relating to the previous charges or along with larceny theft, simple assault, intimidation, or destruction slash damage slash vandalism of property. The ACT also requires data on crimes related to the Violence Against Women Act with crimes including domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Other crimes such as weapons, drug abuse and liquor law violations are also included.
Colin Sweeney (05:23): Who's responsible for finding this data? Where does it all go?
Alexys DeMaria (05:26): Campus Public Safety handles the crime reporting in categorization and the CLERI Act requires information to be distributed it in a few ways. In the Campus Safety Office, a daily crime log that is available for current or prospective OCC students and employees that list any incidents that occur on the applicable Cleary geography from reports of graffiti to motor vehicle thefts.
Colin Sweeney (05:45): You mentioned that the crime log reports on incidents within the Cleary geography. What does that mean?
Alexys DeMaria (05:50): Colleges must define the exact areas of coverage under the jurisdiction of the Cleary Act in order to properly report crimes for occ. That includes every campus building Pathway, garden and parking lot, the recycling center, as well as the surrounding sidewalks around Mary Mac, Fairview and Adams that border our campus. It gets a little trickier when defining other areas such as occs Waterfront Campus, where Newport Harbor is technically considered a classroom and is included in the Cleary geography. If an incident that falls within the four specific crime data categories occurs within the geography, the CLEAR Act requires the data to be compiled in an annual safety report or assr that is made publicly available on October 1st of each year.
Colin Sweeney (06:28): Where can the public find this report? It
Alexys DeMaria (06:30): Is posted on the OCC website and can be found by a Google search or by searching through the C C D Board of Trustees minutes on board dogs through their website, the annual safety report, as well as the ratified contract between C C C D and D Stafford and Associates. Outlining the responsibilities of the Cleri consultant can be found through the Board of Trustees website.
Colin Sweeney (06:48): Did anything stand out to you when you were reading the consultant's contract? The
Alexys DeMaria (06:51): Outlined responsibility is clarified to me, the convoluted of the CLERI Act. The consultant will help public safety with several things. Assistant publication of the ASR, manage the Cleri geography for the campus, coordinate trainings about the CLERI Act, ensure correct classification of incidents and will help manage the timely warning system that is required by the Act for Use in emergencies.
Colin Sweeney (07:11): Why does public safety need this extra help? Is it in response to any incident in specific?
Alexys DeMaria (07:16): Actually, this hiring was in the works for a long time. OCC has contracted with this company previously and the discussion about this hiring predates any major events that occur this semester. This decision is about standardization and making sure the district's practices are consistent across all three campuses, according to Director of Public Safety, Jim Rudy.
Colin Sweeney (07:33): So what will happen now?
Alexys DeMaria (07:34): The initial meetings between the colleges and consultants were slated for this month, and depending on the scope of the recommendations, will determine what action we'll be taking. C C C D Chancellor Whitney Yamas says the district will be working with what he described as deliberate speed when it comes to implementing recommendations. Only time will tell. Alexis,
Colin Sweeney (07:51): Thank you so much for speaking about this.
Alexys DeMaria (07:53): Thanks for having me.
Liz Hanna (08:02): So here's what we already know. This semester has seen a lot of security incidents with the latest being a possible gun siding by the Litton Lang Building on May 9th.
Anna Tran (08:11): And as we learned from Colin and Alexis before any of these events occurred, the district had hired Cleary Act consultants to help standardize and manage the reporting of crime information across all three campuses.
Liz Hanna (08:22): Since we've talked about what the district is doing, we'd like now to focus on what would happen at OCC should a catastrophe occur.
Anna Tran (08:28): And for more on that, we bring in editor-in-chief, Kate Ben, who has done extensive reporting on safety and crime at occ.
Liz Hanna (08:34): Welcome Kate. Glad to be here.
Anna Tran (08:36): So we know that campus public safety under the direction of Jim Rudy is an active presence at O ccc. From your reporting, we have learned that during the day there are three officers plus Rudy patrolling the campus, but they're not alone, right? That's
Alexys DeMaria (08:49): Right.
Liz Hanna (08:49): According to our previous coverage, there are also public safety assistance. Can you talk a bit about who they they are and what they do?
Kate Bent (08:56): Sure. Public safety assistants are students employed by campus public Safety, who drive around patrolling the campus and escorting faculty and students to and from class. They're the ones in red jackets driving the golf carts. We currently have four public safety assistants, but that number fluctuates semester to semester.
Anna Tran (09:16): Campus safety says that they serve a vital role in crime prevention on campus. Tell us more about that.
Kate Bent (09:22): Our sources in the department said that they are the eyes and ears of the campus. The public safety assistance help the officers in acting as a deterrent to crime. Crime experts say that school shooters often scope out locations prior to committing violence, and that the more of a security presence they see, the less likely they are to return and cause a mass casualty event.
Liz Hanna (09:43): So let's talk more about the campus public safety officers and what they do. I know that during the day there are three officers plus Rudy patrolling the school. Are our officers actual cops?
Kate Bent (09:55): No. The three officers do not carry guns or have powers of arrest. Most of the incidents they deal with are medical, like culinary students cutting their finger or someone fainting at the planetarium. The officers also deal with small crimes on campus like theft or vandalism. If something bigger happens, they call in Costa Mesa. PD
Anna Tran (10:15): O's Campus Public Safety has a working relationship with the police, don't they?
Kate Bent (10:19): Yes. Costa Mesa police will often be here within minutes of receiving a call from campus. Public safety officers are constantly listening to police chatter on the radio. If they hear of anything happening on our campus that might not have been reported to campus public safety, they instantly go over to investigate.
Liz Hanna (10:37): How else do O C'S officers keep the school safe?
Kate Bent (10:40): They also do a lot with crime prevention by doing presentations on personal safety awareness and property protection. Rudy said that he goes into different departments to give talks on what to do in the event of a school shooting or natural disaster.
Anna Tran (10:54): They just did a seminar in emergency preparedness on April 28th. Our reporter, Andy Garcia, cover the role of building marshals who would help lead any kind of evacuation. I
Liz Hanna (11:04): Know we have an emergency response plan in place should anything happen. Can you elaborate on that?
Kate Bent (11:09): Sure. According to the annual security and fire safety report from last year, our plan is organized by priorities and campus locations. In the event of emergency campus public safety would coordinate with the PR and marketing office to notify people via the public address system, text and voice messages, email and social media. The plan also includes regularly scheduled evacuation drills, ongoing training and emergency response, lifesaving instruction and communication in a crisis situation. There's also monthly testing of the emergency notification system.
Anna Tran (11:43): This is all really great info, Kate. Thanks for your reporting and thanks for being here.
Kate Bent (11:47): My pleasure.
Anna Tran (11:56): On this week's episode of scuttlebutt, we are discussing a semester in Coast Community College district filled with threats and public safety issues.
Liz Hanna (12:04): For more on how O C C would handle an emergency, we bring in our very first scuttlebutt guest campus Public Safety Officer, Tim Weiner. Thank you for joining us, Tim.
Tim Winer (12:13): Oh, it's my pleasure.
Liz Hanna (12:15): How long have you been here at occ?
Tim Winer (12:17): Well, I started here at at coast in 1997, so if you do the math, that's roughly 26 years or so. Wow.
Anna Tran (12:28): And as public safety officer on campus, what is your primary responsibility on campus?
Tim Winer (12:34): Well, not just my primary responsibility, but everybody in our department, regardless of who they are, whether it's our student assistants people who work the desk, or our director and our other officers, our main priority is to keep everybody safe here regardless of who you are, whether you're a student, faculty, staff, or a visitor.
Liz Hanna (12:59): So we've covered a number of threats to campus, and there have been several recent incidents nationwide. Do you feel that coming to school is more dangerous than before?
Tim Winer (13:07): Well, I'm not sure that I would. I would say coming to school is dangerous more than it was before. I think if you just watching the news at night society is more dangerous than it was just a few years ago. So we encourage everybody that comes to class and comes to work, to, to be vigilant, to not be paranoid, but to be aware of their surroundings and and take their own security very seriously. Mm-Hmm. ,
Kate Bent (13:40): Can you talk a little bit about the role of stu of personal responsibility?
Tim Winer (13:45): Personal responsibility? I think it's just anything in life you need to take responsibility for your own actions and personal responsibility when it applies to your, your own safety and security you have to consider if you, if you look at the city of Costa Mesa, for instance with the, the many, many people who live and work there, and they have a police force where they may have nine officers on duty at a time, they can't be everywhere. It's the same here at Coast at any time. We may have three officers on duty, and it's 164 acres with many, many buildings and thousands of people that come here. And the bottom line is we can't be everywhere we wanna be and we wanna make sure you feel safe. However when it comes to safety, first and foremost, you need to be responsible for for your safety.
Tim Winer (14:48): And and like I said before, being aware of your surroundings, making sure you don't have your face down in your phone constantly when you're walking around and being aware mm-hmm. of people around you. If you feel uncomfortable, making sure to, to walk around with a buddy. I know that kind sounds kind of silly, but it's true. You're less likely to be a victim if you're, if you're with somebody else at night, take extra caution just like you would anywhere going home or going to the mall. Darkness is can be a dangerous time. So a and that's another reason why we in public safety also offer an escort program. So 24 hours a day, you can call our phone number, which is (714) 432-5017, and an officer will come out or one of our student assistants and they'll pick you up and take you to your car or pick you up at your car and take you to your class. That's
Kate Bent (15:54): Amazing. I didn't even know about that.
Tim Winer (15:55): Yeah, yeah. It's not, it's not something we encourage to make a you know, do that all the time because we do have limited staff. However if need be and you feel unsafe, you call that number and, and we'll come out and, and do whatever we we need to do to help you.
Kate Bent (16:18): What is the most rewarding part of your work here?
Tim Winer (16:22): Well, I've been in the in public service for a little over 30 years or so. I was in the fire service for a little while and for about 10 years, and I was a reserve law enforcement officer, and at some point I did all three of these jobs at the same time. But it all comes down to, and I know it sounds like a cliche, but I like helping people working here at Coast First I found a family here and everybody that steps foot on this campus, especially the students and the staff and the faculty and administration, I consider my extended family. So, because I take that, that view of things, I take it very personally, your safety. And so I, I think bottom line is that that is when I feel useful and I can go out and help somebody, regardless of whether it's unlocking a door or performing CPR on 'em, I'm helping people here, the whole wide spectrum. So I I think in a nutshell that that would be my answer to you. Mm-Hmm. ,
Kate Bent (17:44): Can you talk about working with students?
Tim Winer (17:47): Yeah. Students I mean, bottom line is students are the reason that we're here. I wouldn't have a job if it wasn't, nobody would have a job here if, if it wasn't for students coming to school. So I gave a, I gave a talk to a graduate class many years ago, and I was making a PowerPoint in deciding what I was gonna name this PowerPoint. I thought I thought about it, what is it all boiled down to? And I named that PowerPoint, providing a safe place to learn. That's why you all come here, is to learn hopefully mm-hmm. , or to tell your parents that you're doing something during the day. I, I don't know. I, I've heard many stories as to why people come here, but I, I think the bottom line is a vast majority of people come here to learn, and my job is to make sure that you can do that without having to worry about other stuff.
Anna Tran (18:48): I just wanted to kind of comment on your mention to the network that you have here at OCC and that reinforcement with the support, support from the community. And I can see how that could benefit students if they advocated not only for themselves, but the peers among them as well. Mm-Hmm. . So I think that's an important topic that you touched on, was just emphasizing that sense of community here.
Tim Winer (19:14): Yeah. Yeah. And, and that's something that I've learned over my, you know, 25 plus years here, is that we've, we've always had support all the way from the top, the, the president's level all the way down. And it, it's really heartening to know that I'm able to do my job and people appreciate it. Mm-Hmm. , sometimes . Yeah. Well,
Anna Tran (19:42): Especially at a community college too, you know, I think some people here are just so touch and go, but I think there's a lot to be recognized behind the scenes and here actively on campus. And
Tim Winer (19:54): Oh, I, I, I appreciate that. And I just need to reiterate, we're here for you and you're part of my family. I, I just hope you know that and, and I'm sincere when I say that.
Liz Hanna (20:07): As we wrap up our conversation, what is the best way to reach campus public safety in an emergency,
Tim Winer (20:13): In an emergency? So there, there's a few different things, and one I en I encourage your listeners to take out their cell phone and to program in the number for, for campus safety. And I'm gonna say I said that a little bit earlier, but let, let me go ahead and say it again. It's (714) 432-5017. And you can call that number 24 hours a day and you'll reach either our public safety dispatch or you will after a certain time of day, it'll go directly to the lead officer that's on duty. Now, if it's a dire emergency, I encourage I encourage you to dial 9 1 1. That's that'll go straight to the cost Mesa dispatch. We have access to the radio system, and we'll hear if they're en route here to the campus. And, and most of the time they'll give us a call on, on the phone and let us know what's going on.
Tim Winer (21:16): In addition, if you take a walk throughout campus and throughout the parking lots, you'll, you'll see white poles that have big letters on 'em that say emergency. And at the top there's a blue light, and all you need to do is go up to that, that pole and push a button, and you'll also reach the officer that's on duty. So but in an emergency, always be aware of what's going on, be prepared to tell whoever answers the phone. Mm-Hmm. what's happening where you are, and any pertinent details that may be important to the to the situation no matter what it is.
Anna Tran (22:02): Occ, campus Public Safety Officer, Tim Weiner, thank you for joining us today.
Tim Winer (22:06): Oh, thank you.
Liz Hanna (22:07): And that concludes this episode of Scuttlebutt. You can find this in upcoming episodes on Spotify, apple Music, Google, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcast. And
Anna Tran (22:17): For the latest news on all things Orange Coast College, follow Coast email@example.com, and on all our social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok at Coast Report. Our theme music was created by OCC music student, Brian Ding Scuttlebutt is a production of Coast Report, the student voice of Orange Coast College
Liz Hanna (22:38): For Anna Tran. And Kate Ben. I'm Liz Hannah, and thank you for listening to this edition of Scuttle.
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