Hartwick College is a small, private liberal arts college with nearly 1,500 students. Just as in the case of SUNY—Oneonta, Hartwick College had security and emergency plans in place before the Virginia Tech tragedy.
Hartwick has a professional staff and always looks at ways to attract, hire, and keep professional security personnel. The campus security at Hartwick is not a police force so by law its officers may not carry weapons.
As already noted, it is against the law in New York for anyone to bring a weapon on campus and a recent incident was cited where someone spotted a shotgun in a car parked on campus. The Oneonta police were called. The car did not belong to anyone associated with the school, but to a town resident who parked it on school grounds after meeting a co-ed and returning with her to the school dorm. The individual was found, arrested and spent the night in jail—the law had been broken. According to the head of security, “We will not tolerate any weapons on campus.” This is the attitude all parents should look for from campus security officials.
If a student is caught with a weapon, the Oneonta police department is called immediately and he or she is suspended. Usually the student voluntarily withdraws for the term.
At Hartwick, senior school officials meet once a week to discuss campus problems, specifically case reviews of individuals who are having academic, behavioral, or emotional problems. The school aggressively follows up on any individual who has been brought to its attention for having any of those problems.
The campus also has a hot line. Anyone can dial #3333 to report any individual on campus who is a cause for concern. It was indicated that if aberrant behavior is brought to the attention of security, they have the right to act immediately to ensure campus safety. The do not have to consult with any other school official before acting. Hartwick College has access to NY ALERT—the campus-wide cell phone, email, and text messaging system already in use at the nearby SUNY campus.
As an indication of just how serious Hartwick takes campus security, it was emphasized that “no weapon of any kind” does not simply refer to guns or knives, but includes slingshots or toy guns. None of these are allowed on campus. Here again is the no-nonsense attitude parents should look for. (To be continued)