During spring break in 2020, Vanguard students had to say farewell to their beloved campus. However, for campus safety, it was only the beginning of what trouble the campus had in store.
Having a vacant campus caused a lot of outside chaos to find a way in. Not just trespassers, but also wildlife, and crime that occurs around the empty campus. In this interview with Campus Safety Director Kenton Ferrin, he unravels the issues he has experienced on an accessible campus.
“Since we locked the University down from anyone coming onto campus (except campus safety and facilities), we had an influx of transients wanting to seek shelter at locations that were previously occupied by staff or students,” said Campus Safety Director, Kenton Ferrin, “We had to be extra vigilant to check areas that didn’t always get the same attention as before. We barricaded all entrances off to the University and we had to staff a single entrance point at Vanguard Way.”
Knowing that there was a limited staff during a challenging time was only one of their many worries, and there was a fear of COVID-19 spreading within their own team as well.
“It became a challenge to staff that position and ensure 24-hour security to all areas. The biggest challenge came when Campus Safety Officers began getting infected. We had to create a staffing model that ensured we would not all be down at one time as a staff member came down with the virus” said Ferrin.
The wildlife sightings keep increasing because there is no barrier between Vanguard’s campus and its surroundings. Ferrin recommends students and staff remain vigilant when walking around on campus.
“Generally speaking, coyotes and raccoons will not attack a human. Anyone on the campus with an animal must be cautious. That is why we send out a notification if someone tells us a coyote is on the property. We don’t want their animal to fall victim to a coyote attack. There is very little you can do to prevent a coyote or a raccoon from coming onto the campus property,” said Campus Safety Director Ferrin.
Even though campus safety does a good job of maintaining the open campus is a security problem, which could be solved with a fence.
“Unfortunately the Vanguard campus does not have a fence all the way around the perimeter. We have signs that tell people they are trespassing, but they don’t always know they are trespassing. The times that people trespass varies, but we have had a slight increase since COVID-19,” said Ferrin.
When there is a trespasser on campus there is a process that they go through. The first time is a warning; however, the second time is followed by an arrest. As a result of having a vacant campus, there has been a spike in trespassers.
“Some people trespass to charge their devices in outlets, some come to dig through trash cans, and some come onto our property to commit crimes. We have had trespassers steal items (bikes, computers, etc.), and even enter the property with poor intentions,” said the Campus Director.
As a result, Campus Safety is planning to build a fence to maintain safety while Vanguard transitions to in-person learning.