The leader of SUNY toured the Niagara County Community College campus in Sanborn Tuesday. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says among the topics discussed was campus safety.
SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson was greeted on the final leg of her campus tour by NCCC’s Tripp the Wolf. The chancellor and mascot tossed blue SUNY ball back and forth.
Chancellor Johnson said one of the things she discussed with NCCC's interim president William Murabito was student safety.
WBFO News asked how they continue to keep students safe, but recognize any mental health troubles in SUNY classrooms.
“Last year – the legislature gave us $300,000 for tele-counseling – mental health tele-counseling, so we piloted this year – ten campuses linked in with that and then legislature then were generous enough to get $600,000 – double that, but I think one of the things we have to do is use current technology to make sure that students who need the help get the help and that students that are recognized as in need of help have the community help them get help – so again it comes back to putting safety first and then providing resources so that students and faculty and staff can get the help they need,” replied Johnson.
NCCC’s interim leader Murabito explained how they are getting ready to have peace officers armed on their campus.
“In SUNY, you have the state operated and you have the community colleges – all of the state operated campuses are armed with university police and more than half of the community colleges have moved toward peace officers armed, so we are right with the other campuses are going and I would expect in a couple of years – two or three right now are considering it, so I would say we are all going to be there in a year or so,” explained Murabito.
Chancellor Johnson says SUNY campuses are taking different approaches from more surveillance cameras to active shooter drills to keep campuses safe.
SUNY Chancellor Johnson conducted a tour of the NCCC campus as part of her mission to visit all 64-SUNY campuses. She’s been meeting meets with faculty, staff and students. It was the chancellor’s first visit to the college since Murabito took over when the former president retired in April of 2017 accused of mishandling a reported case of sexual assault on the campus.
WBFO asked Chancellor Johnson and the interim leader about how the college has moved forward and will assure any future victim would be treated appropriately.
“One of the things I was very impressed with - President Murabito - is that the first thing he talked about was safety – safety first – personal safety and then making sure the students get a great education, so I think the thing we look for is great leadership, and so I know that our current president tis interim, but he is going to put this place in such great shape it’s going to attract fabulous leader to follow on,” remarked Johnson.
"What protocols are in place by the campus?” Buckley asked Murabito.
"You need to practice those things. We will have training session in the fall. How we handle situations? How you deal with the alleged victim? How do you deal with police agencies? How do you deal with the campus, in terms of notifying the campus – those are all important lessons we will engage the campus with and what we learned from it,” responded Murabito.