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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA safety discussed

    The Dean of Students Office will hold two open discussions that will address questions concerning safety, university protocols and procedures.

    The identical panels will be open to the entire campus with the first held today from 2:30 to 4 p.m., and the second March 5 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Both sessions will take place in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center.

    Experts from many on-campus organizations who know how to deal with distressed students will also be attending the panel, including those from the Dean of Students Office, Counseling and Psychological Services, Life and Work Connections, the University of Arizona Police Department and the University Attorney’s Office.

    A distressed student is someone who is troubled and unstable and who may harm other students, faculty or staff because of their mental or emotional state.

    The panel will speak on different aspects of the topic and share how they handle situations.

    Topics discussed will include a framework to understanding these students, the symptoms and signs of distress, reporting mechanisms, policies and procedures of addressing certain situations and an overview on the best practices and research including the Virginia Tech Report and the Association of American Universities Report.

    “”We’ll be able to answer questions,”” said UAPD Spokesman Sgt. Eugene Mejia. “”A lot of times people want to know what our preparedness is in situations. They may want us to talk about campus crime and statistics and what we’re doing about them.””

    “”We’ll also be discussing what we do on our campus and what we’ve been doing for years on end,”” said Anthony Skevakis, judicial affairs coordinator. “”This includes having a comprehensive team approach, a National Incident Management System certified emergency response team and plan, a business continuity plan, education and training for staff, exercises and early prevention and detection.””

    Although the discussions were scheduled to take place soon after the recent NIU tragedy, they are unaffiliated and have been planned since mid-January, Skevakis said. The subject matter is still highly relevant, however.

    “”Often times in looking back on tragic incidents, we often wonder what are the warning signs? What is my responsibility in helping someone in distress? What are the resources available on this campus to help students showing signs of distress?”” said Veda Kowalski, associate dean of students. These are exactly the types of questions that will be answered at the panels.

    The Dean of Students Office is hoping to see a turnout of faculty, staff and students.

    “”I think it’s important to have an educated campus so when a student is interacting with another, they know what to look for, what to identify and what resources we have available,”” said Skevakis. “”In turn, that helps us.””

    The office created the panels after they felt there had been enough outreach to individual departments.

    “”We’ve been going from department to department and catering it to the needs of that department,”” said Skevakis. “”We figured we’ve moved on and want to have more of an open forum so people can come and learn and ask questions.””

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