The Binghamton Chapter of UUP had concerns about campus security prior to a fatal stabbing on campus last December, according to Binghamton Chapter President Darryl Wood. Now, the chapter is spearheading the review of procedures dealing with campus violence.
"The discussion began only after we brought up the issue at December's joint labor/management meeting," Wood said. The discussion dealt with the handling of campus communications immediately after the incident and what Wood described as "perceived holes in the alert system."
Former UUP member Richard Antoun, 77, died after being stabbed in his campus office Dec. 6. Authorities charged a 46-year-old post-graduate student, Abdulsalam al-Zahrani, with his murder.
Wood said the union and the administration are involved in ongoing conversations about current policy and procedures. For example, the chapter contended that the online training provided to faculty on campus violence was inadequate. Now, Wood said that training program is being revised and is due to change by April.
Also, a UUPer at Binghamton with extensive experience studying school violence is out with a report that recommends how to spot the potential for campus violence.
UUPer Mary Muscari lists examples of risk factors and warning signs for violence. She considers her most important recommendation as having individuals contact the police immediately when they see others display ominous warning signs, such as the intent to cause harm or those who direct violence toward inanimate objects.
Muscari, a forensic nurse whose expertise includes membership on the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender Assessment Board, said her suggestions can fit the needs of other campuses: "Campuswide education is critical. The outcome of ignoring potential warning signs can be and have been devastating."
"While it isn't possible to prevent every violent episode, we must work together as a community to assure that our campuses are as safe as possible," she added.
Her report can be found on the UUP Binghamton Chapter Web site at www.uuphost.org/binghamton.