CAMPUS ARRESTS: Disorderly students a challenge

By SHAQ DAVIS

A student at Pima Community College shouts obscenities during class, driving the instructor to lock herself in her office and call campus police.

In another instance, a student prowls campus halls screaming vulgarities and intimidating other students until police officers detain him near the student life office.

In a third example, a student patient at the West Campus Health Clinic verbally degrades and threatens staff members after a misunderstanding involving her prescription.

These are all cases of disruptive or disorderly students that police officers have dealt with at PCC this semester.

Most days, a surprise test or boring lecture is the worst thing students have to deal with at Pima.

However, when students become a danger to themselves or others, PCC officials are ready to respond.

Finding the solution to these types of events can be difficult, but campus faculty and officers work hand-in-hand to keep everybody safe.

Disorderly conduct is classified as an act or behavior, whether by a student or employee, that disrupts the learning process.

In order for officers to be ready for these types of situations, they go through extensive training and are taught how to properly respond to these circumstances.

“Specific training occurs at the campuses and done internally because colleges have separate codes of conduct,” said Manny Amado, PCC’s police chief.

The campus police department relies heavily on Pima’s recently updated Code of Conduct to determine the appropriate response to a situation.

Any employee engaging in harassment, discrimination, using drugs or alcohol  or contributing to a hostile environment will face consequences.

Students who cause interruption or impediment of any class, lab, administrative activity or other college activity are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

When disorderly people raise their voice, become upset, make threats or cause others to become afraid or threatened, a solution needs to be found.

“It is about being proactive to put that person back on the right track.” Amado said.

Disruptions come with consequences laid out by the college’s code of conduct.

Verbal warnings, probation and suspension are all potential ramifications when someone acts out of line, depending on the severity of the incident.

Punishments are determined by the campus president, human resource employees, vice president of instruction and the vice president of student development, all working in different areas.

“Based on the provided reports and meetings with witnesses a decision is then made out of my office,” said Aubrey Conover, vice president of student development at West Campus.

Conover feels that the police officers work well in the college environment.

“They recognize the educational environment students are working in. From my perspective, we are lucky to have police working directly in the institution,” he said.

Although disorderly conduct cases on campus are rare, Amado said they are all thoroughly investigated.

“The reason why we take it seriously is because we have to protect the educational process, to make sure no one ruins it for someone else,” Amado said.

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Pima Community College police officers detain a student on April 2 after he caused a disruption in the West Campus Student Life room. (Andrew Paxton/Aztec Press)

 

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