This letter is referring to the article “College police a fit for these 2 campuses” in the February 13, 2017 issue of the Washtenaw Voice. Schoolcraft and Mott Colleges are very different from Washtenaw Community College. For five years I worked across the street from Schoolcraft College at Hawthorn, a state mental hospital for children.
Hawthorn is located in Northville. Schoolcraft College is located at the very edge of Livonia, and is separated from the rest of Livonia by 275, an eight lane freeway. Therefore, the Livonia police are not an easy drive from the campus. Mott College, located in Flint, is in a city that has many challenges. A friend of mine had to walk away from her home in Flint because she absolutely could not sell it. So Mott College is in a city that is very different from Ann Arbor.
The Sheriff’s Department is a very short drive from Washtenaw Community College. Also, an armed police officer is over at St. Joseph Hospital. Schoolcraft College employs twenty-two officers in order to get their “under a minute” response time. That level of armed services must cost a fortune. I feel so lucky to be able to attend Washtenaw Community College where such a level of expense is not deemed necessary.
To be safer, Washtenaw Community College sent a delegation to a school similar in size to Washtenaw, on the west coast, that had experienced a shooting emergency. That college found that hiring a larger counselor staff was the solution for their college. They did not feel that bringing armed police as a permanent presence on their campus would increase their safety. More initiatives of this type would help our college.
I refer to the Psychology teacher who spoke at the Board of Trustees meeting last spring and quoted the study that found increased ideas of violence among people who just saw a gun laying on a table in their presence. Guns make people scared and scared people are less likely to act rationally. I plead for increased counseling staff and a campaign that emphasizes how normal and okay it is to get counseling services. This can be so more effective than guns to continue having our very safe campus.