By Sarah Hall
This summer Tyler Junior College began a campaign to make its campus more “East Texas Friendly.”
This campaign includes many changes to the campus as well as policies and safety procedures. All these changes are in an effort to establish a safer and friendlier environment.
“I’m really excited about the changes we are making. The students are going to thrive,” said TJC President Mike Metke.
The biggest change to TJC’s safety procedures is that as of Aug. 23, 2010, all students, staff and faculty must wear their school identification cards on lanyards around their necks.
“We aren’t trying to prevent visitors on campus, we are trying to make this an ideal place to study, learn and work,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Johnny Moore.
Each student must get a TJC ID card and lanyard during their registration process. In order to be considered valid, each ID needs to have the current semester sticker placed on the back of the card. IDs and stickers can be acquired at the Campus Safety office.
“The ID’s are going to tell us who is a part of the TJC family, and who is taking advantage of our campus’ openness,” said Dr. Metke.
New digital security cameras have also been added all over campus. There are now more than 200 cameras in place. Some cameras, such as the ones on top of Rogers Student Center, are HD. The cameras will be monitored as much as possible and Campus Safety is having an area built in its office so that the displays will be up on the walls for easier viewing.
Bike patrols are being added to the list of security efforts and will begin the first week of school. David Harris and Jimmie Vickers, two Campus Safety officers, have already begun bike patrols for the few weeks leading up to the start of the fall semester.
“Bike patrol will be contacting students on campus. They will be answering calls for service. They will be doing their normal patrol, but instead of being in a vehicle, they would be on the campus with close contact with the students, faculty and staff,” said Campus Safety Chief Randy Melton.
Bushes have been cut down from nine feet tall to four feet tall, and some have even been replaced with dwarf azaleas in order to increase visibility around campus. With better visibility, Campus Safety and students can see farther across campus. The security cameras are able to catch more and have a better view with the bushes out of their way.
There have been new flowers planted in front of Rogers and the benches have been turned into a flowerbed in order to increase the amount of traffic flow. They were also placed there to reduce the amount of damage done to sprinklers.
“People were sitting on top and on the ledges as well. They were snapping off the sprinkler heads… and then also we were having a problem with the flow. There were so many people there that it was clogging it up,” said Executive Director of Campus Safety Thomas Johnson.
Security officers will be outside of Rogers between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in order to make sure that students are not sitting on the ledges, blocking traffic flow or causing trouble.
Signs have been strategically placed all over campus to present safety messages and warnings. Signs were also installed in order to notify all on campus that they are under surveillance.
With all these changes and more, TJC has become a safer and more positive atmosphere in which all students, faculty, staff and visitors can come to learn and grow. For more information on Campus Safety and their efforts to make TJC more “East Texas Friendly,” contact the Campus Safety office at (903) 510-2310.