VP Durant addresses safety, other campus issues
Nov 16, 2017
Dr. Leroy Dantzler addresses Panther reporters on Nov. 9. (Panther photo)
Security and safety are priorities at Claflin, a top-level university official says.
Dr. Leroy Durant, vice president for student development and services, addressed security, safety and a wide range of issues affecting students during a news conference with The Panther on Nov. 9.
“Safety is always a concern of any college campus,” Durant said. “Our No. 1 concern is safety.”
“There are over 20 cameras on this campus,” Durant said. They are monitored by campus public safety personnel.
Plans are to add more cameras focused on Goff Avenue near the Commons, he said.
In the event of emergencies, 14 call boxes are located around the campus, Durant said. Four were being repaired in the days following the news conference.
“Call boxes were for emergencies back in the day,” Durant said. “Everyone has a phone in this generation.”
He advised students to program Claflin security's number into their cell phones. The number is 803-535-5444.
“Students should have that number on speed dial,” Durant said.
Regarding response time in critical situations, Durant said once the school receives information, it is sent out to students.
“Safety issues on campus do not go just to police officers,” Durant said. Students are key in knowing what is taking place on campus.
If a student sees something that does not look right, notify campus security, Durant said. “You have to work together for the safety of all.”
“We are all concerned about it (safety) because of what is going on in our society,” Durant said. Keeping the campus secure involves constantly monitoring those coming and going during all hours of the day and night.
“You cannot put up a wall,” he said.
Claflin has been working on the parking situation for about a year, Durant said.
Barricades limit the entrances and exits to parking lots along Goff Avenue, but people move the barricades. What was to be one way to come in and another to go out of a parking lot turns into five ways.
This causes danger to not only the drivers but students, faculty and staff, Durant said.
An objective is to limit entrances to the campus and campus lots at night in particular.
Durant said parking lot 10 coming off U.S. 601 will be closed off at certain times of the night. The only exception will be if there is an event being held at the gym.
“This is a good thing because it is still addressing safety on the campus,” Durant said.
“Down in front of the research lab on Goff, we will close that off at night because that is an entrance to parking lot 11,” Durant said.
“Parking lot 8 has two entrances, one closer to Highrise/Commons and one behind the health center,” Durant said. “The one behind the health center will be closed at certain times but the one closer to Commons/Highrise will be open.”
“Too many entrances and exits to a college campus parking lot sometimes invite outsiders,” Durant said.
Durant addressed the water situation in the Highrise residence hall.
The new water system installed on campus increased water pressure and resulted in rust from the dorm’s aging boiler making its way into the water, Durant said. The cold water does not show rust, it’s just the hot.
The situation is being addressed as quickly as possible.
“We are constantly addressing them,” Durant said of conditions in residence halls. Every Tuesday, he meets with Residence Life and reviews work orders.
“We prioritize things that we know must be done immediately,” Durant said. “We have concerns when things are not addressed in a timely manner.”
Students are the focus, he said. “I want students to feel comfortable … This is their place.”
The new health and wellness center under construction at Jonas T. Kennedy Center will be closely monitored, Durant said.
Since it is open to the community, there will be specific hours and check-in requirements for students and others.
“Security personnel will increase at night,” Durant said. “We expect more people to be at the gym at night with a variety of events.”
Community use will primarily be for special events, he said. “It’s not going to be overcrowded.”
Addressing the student sit-in protest at Tingley Hall on Nov. 3, Durant encouraged students to use the mechanisms in place to voice concerns. He specifically referenced the Student Government Association.
“Does a protest have to happen for things to get done? No,” Durant said.
Protests can have a negative effect on the institution as a whole, he said. Students should ask themselves, “Is this the correct way to address issues?”
“When we say we are a family, that should mean something,” Durant said. “Family does not protest against each other.”
Durant said it is too early to tell whether the student sit-in will have a negative impact on the university.
“We’ll have to wait and see. These things tend to have backlashes.”