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Changes cause conflicts

Like hundreds of students at Tyler Junior College, Eric Kenna, came out of the Rogers Student Center with his new lanyard around his hand. The new lanyard requirement had students standing in long lines in Rogers and the Campus Safety Office this semester.  After waiting for more than two hours Kenna came out with the desire to enjoy a cigar and forget the waiting time. However, TJC is also now a smoke-free campus, making it illegal for Kenna to practice this habit.  These are two of many changes this year and he supports most of them.

“Some of the changes are too drastic, but most of them will make a safer and better campus for us,” said Kenna.

The multiple changes at TJC have sparked different opinions among students, staff and police officers who have had to adapt to the lanyards, new cameras and dress code.

On Aug. 25, 2010, a TJC guard was approached by a staff member who requested assistance. The staff member and a student, identified as Tyler J. Fuller, started arguing. According to police reports, the staff member asked him to wear his lanyard and to pull up his pants.  Fuller began cursing and continued using vulgar language at a professor and the staff member.  Fuller was issued a criminal trespass warning.  He was escorted to his vehicle and was asked to leave the property. In order to return to campus, he is now required to contact Campus Safety.

 “We realized in the last year that many people on our campus were not students, and they were utilizing our campus in unproductive and negative ways,” said Fred M. Peters, Director of Marketing and Public Affairs.

Several incidents that occurred on campus during the last semester, including the arrest of several non-students for selling drugs, have brought the TJC administration to agree on the implementation of different strategies. One of the strategies is crime prevention through environmental design.  The change involves adjusting the landscape and the use of new technology.

“All the little changes like the signs, use of lanyards, implementing more officers, the change in the landscape, the dress code and the new camera system are working together to help prevent crime,” said Thomas A. Johnson, Executive Director of Campus Safety.

This fall semester over 11,000 students are attending TJC and are being watched most of the time they are on campus by the technology implemented to prevent crime. TJC now has more than 200 new cameras placed around campus.

“I have the same opinion than probably most of the students, I feel protected with the new camera system because they work 24/7 and will help to solve crime,” said student Dunn R. Arante.

Opinions range from a stupid and unnecessary new regulation to an essential and crucial safety procedure that in the future will make TJC a safer and better campus.

“The IDs will help us to start identifying who is a student and who is not, the lanyard will help us to identify who those people are,” said Johnson.

On Sept. 1, multiple officers were standing outside Rogers Student Center stopping students who were not wearing lanyards and writing down their A numbers. Some students did not like it and with an expression of disapproval on their faces, provided the information to the officers.

 “With the implementation of the lanyard, students can now have a better environment and focus more on learning,” said Johnson. “That is our first achievement in the many positive result we are hoping to get.”

According to campus safety, in the last two weeks, they gave more than 13 criminal trespasses for people who should not be on campus. Campus safety has received complements from staff members and students who according to campus reports feel safer with the actions taken in TJC.

“I am agreeing with the new policy to wear lanyards, but they should do something to provide security in the parking lots during the nights,” said student Marcela Rodezno.

Tyler Junior College will implement a new lighting system on the whole campus.  These will provide better visibility to police officers and possible witnesses to crime. Campus Safety has also increased their regular patrols and bike patrols.  These two changes were implemented to prevent crime and provide a safer environment for students who attend classes during the nights.

 “We are increasing staff, light system and the use of technology to provide the very best and provide protection to our students at TJC,” said Johnny Moore, Vice President of Students affairs.

For more information on Campus Safety and their efforts to make TJC a safer campus, contact the Campus Safety office at (903) 510-2310.

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