Local News


Local college working to make school safe

Posted at 6:33 PM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 21:33:20-04
As the nation mourns the tragedy of Umpqua Community College, one school in Nevada wants to make sure its students feel safe. Friday, the College of Southern Nevada sent out a school-wide message reminding students of recent security upgrades. But on ne instructor says she doesn’t feel safe on campus.
Joanne Gutschick was always a teacher that left her office door open. But that all changed in July when a mysterious man came into her office while she was working.
"A gentleman walked in, sat down, and started telling me he was a doctor and he wanted a job,” she recounted.
She says his line of questioning was irrelevant and his appearance made her suspect he was up to no good.  He didn't steal or cause any harm, but she says he was dressed in all black and carried a duffel bag. Once he left her office she called campus police, who say they caught the man and cited him for trespassing.
"We have numerous cameras in the hallways and that's how we were able to locate and arrest the individual of concern that she had in her reporting," said campus police chief Darryl Caraballo.
Gutschick wanted to make sure it never happened again. So she reached out to the college president and asked him to increase security measures in the building.
"We've implemented and installed panic buttons in her office and in the adjunct faculty office across from her," Caraballo tells Action News.
Gutschick says it's not enough. Most of her fear stems from how close her office is to the door. The entrance near her office faces Charleston Boulevard and a bus stop. She says the lack of security invites too many non-students into the building. She's reached out to the college president several times requesting that he place a security guard at that door and  program the door to automatically lock around 7 p.m. instead of 11. 
"The evening people that come after work to obtain those classes, you know, they're hurried,” said Caraballo. They're stressed from a full work day and now they can't get in. Now they got to go around to the other side of the building to get in."
Adding security would require a campus-wide budget adjustment.  So administrators offered to move her office to another building but she says that would considerably limit her interaction with her students.
"I have a window into our labs because we have to be present and able to observe are students especially when they're working in what's called open lab," Gutschick said.
Her husband also works for the college. He says if administrators don't react after this story airs, he's taking his wife's concerns to board members at the state level.