Chicago Heights , IL—(ENEWSPF)— Security topped the agenda at Prairie State College’s 694th Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees last week. Student Government Association Bryce Johnsen, just back from the memorial service at Northern Illinois University, addressed the board at the start of the meeting regarding the shootings at NIU and reflected on what the tragedy might mean for Prairie State College.
“We must look at this college and see the changes that need to be made," he said. "What can we do to minimize tragedy, to ensure students’ safety, whatever the cost?"
Johnsen urged the board to move forward with plans for a police force at Prairie State and a notification system for students, "Time is of the essence. We can’t have this transition period any longer. We need to have an authority on campus that has absolute authority," he said.
Board President Mark Fazzini responded, “We are doing what we can. It should be on the agenda at the next meeting to move forward with creating the documents and approving the intergovernmental agreement with Chicago Heights.”
Fazzini said the administration is looking into security measures and trying to move forward quickly, “But there are some things you can’t fast track. Unfortunately, some things just can’t be done overnight.”
Interim President David Brownell provided a security update to the board later in the meeting. In an email sent to all staff at Prairie State, Brownell said, “As I promised following the NIU tragedy, there follows a status report on our efforts relative to campus security and safety
Brownell noted the installation of an Emergency Mass Notification LYNX system on many computers connected to the PSC network. With respect to a public address and notification system, Brownell said, “This installation is being pushed hard. Our current phone system already includes an intercom feature that allows certain phones to activate speakerphones across the system and broadcast short messages or announcements. This feature currently is available and functioning."
According to Brownell, Prairie State College currently has 73 security cameras installed. He is calling for the installation of an additional 104.
With respect to the creation of a PSC Police Department, Brownell said, "The conversion from Chicago Heights Law enforcement services to our own police department will likely take place in June-July. Agreements must be finalized. A complex hiring process is required. Our current officers will be subject to a number of procedures. In any event, we can’t assume full responsibility until we have at least three certified and sworn officers in place."
Brownell said he wasn’t encouraged from Governor Blagojevich’s budget message, “He proposed $300 million in new money for all levels. This is the smallest increase in five years and contrasts with a proposed $560 million last year. We must continue our efforts for a better deal, through the Legislature. Locally, we continue efforts to maximize the use of reserve funds, available levies and ending balances to hopefully forestall a tuition increase."
In other matters, the board accepted the resignation of Ms. Michele Thoele, Assistant Professor of Mathematics/Developmental Mathmatics, approved the full-time faculty overload compensation in the amount of $201,238.60, and adjunct faculty compensation in the amount of $493,542.55 and compensation for administrators and staff on teaching assignments for credit courses in the amount of $11,110. The board also approved the adjunct faculty compensation in the amount of $84,662.05 and compensation for administrators and staff on teaching assignments for non-credit courses in the amount of $5,194.40.