CO-WRITTEN BY BELLA GARCIA & CRYSTAL CORTEZ, STAFF WRITERS
PHOTO BY ARIANA TRIGGS, USA TODAY
A complaint filed in Jan 2023 by a faculty member regarding a broken door is raising questions about how quickly security and ADA issues are being acknowledged or corrected by Cypress College officials, as mass shootings arise in the nation.
Mon. April 10th, Kentucky saw the country’s 15th mass killing this year, resulting in the death of at least five people and injuring eight others at a bank in Louisville. In the event of a mass shooting at Cypress College, a malfunctioning door puts students and faculty at risk.
Cypress College professor and department chair of photography came forward about the defective automatic door on campus which remained a potential hazard as it went unrepaired for students and faculty for an entire month.
Professor Tony Maher and Juan Vasquez, lead Lab Tech for the Photography Department, noticed the broken door last semester in the Tech Ed 1 building. Maher stated that the automatic sliding glass door stopped working due to a security breach.
“[The automatic door] has been broken all semester,” Maher said, “That is a security issue and an ADA issue when people need to physically open and close it themselves.”
The issue is especially concerning regarding the active shooter drill that Cypress College Campus Safety will hold on Apr. 12, in response to the Nashville School shooting on Mar. 27. The shooting caused the death of six people, three of six were nine year old students and the other three faculty.
During an active shooting event on Cypress College, a door that is locked and cannot be opened or that remains open at all times could potentially increase the likelihood of injury or fatality.
Danny Pierce, the locksmith from the Maintenance and Operations Office who repaired the defective automatic door in the Tech Ed 1 building, said that the parts to fix the automatic sliding door were inaccurately ordered, delaying the process of repairing an additional two weeks.
Pierce and M&O at that point found themselves in a predicament. He says, “What we had to do was physically open it every day so everyone had access. So, it just remained open all day long.”
When asked for a copy of the initial report of the broken door, Danny Pierce, Cypress College locksmith, refused to give the public document to the student press.
Marc Posner has also failed to share any work order reports as he claimed: “The door was repaired multiple times rather than having been left unrepaired.” A statement inconsistent with locksmith Pierce.
Summer Justice, Administrative Assistant of the Disability Support Services Office at Cypress College and a member of the Safety Committee, was surprised to hear that the door had been broken for quite some time.
She shared that the Safety Committee meets once a month to discuss topics or incidents relating to safety on campus. She says, “So that scenario has not been mentioned in our safety committee meeting; a door not operating properly is a safety issue…it’s also an accessibility thing.”
She shared that most students on the contrary are not informed about where to report issues too. “So if someone wasn’t aware of it, maybe it took some time before the right people found out,” says Justice.
“I wonder how long students were impacted before someone got told. Because sometimes maybe students, individuals in general, assume someone knows,” says Justice.
She ensures that she is going to bring the issue up at the next Safety Committee meeting.
Meanwhile, this issue raises the question: are students aware of how and who to report accessibility issues?
Cypress College students, unaware of how accessibility issues are dealt with, share their opinion on how unsafe situations like the broken automatic door make them feel. Elena Aispuro feels the door should have been fixed in a few days rather than an entire month.
“Things would be resolved more quickly,” Kelly Donath said regarding students’ need to be educated on how to report similar issues.
Law major, June Nguyen, suggested administration provide a sign with instructions at the scene for students who run into accessibility problems.
“Students in the actual situation might panic, and the last thing on their mind would be who to go to and what to do,” Nguyen said.
When encountering an accessibility or safety issue on-campus, students are advised to contact Campus Safety at (714) 484-7387. Campus Safety is also located in the Business Building, 1st Floor, near Lot 1.