Misunderstanding creates confusion at Reese Center campus

by: HANNAH NELSON/Staff Writer

A nonviolent domestic incident at South Plains College’s Reese Center campus recently resulted in miscommunication about the situation.

The incident happened on Oct. 14 in Building 2, which is primarily where math courses are located, at 11:20 a.m., and the issue was resolved within minutes, according to Kara Martinez, dean of the Reese Center campus.

During math class, while the students were taking a quiz, a man came up to the classroom door, according to Martinez. A student in the classroom told the instructor that she did not want to see the man who was standing at the door. The instructor then went to the door and told the man that he needed to leave. The man stated that he needed to speak to his wife. However, the instructor did not allow him to talk to her and demanded that the man leave.

When the man left, the instructor closed his classroom door and followed the man out the door to make sure that he did in fact go to his vehicle and leave the campus. While following the man, the instructor also called the campus police.

While in the classroom, many of the students began to get concerned about what was going on. Nervous, some of the students called 911.

“I can understand when someone you never knew before comes to your classroom wanting to speak with another student, and your instructor leaves and closes the door,” Martinez said.  “It tends to snowball.”

The SPC Campus Police arrived right as the man was leaving the campus. When the officers from the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office arrived, after responding to the 911 calls, the Campus Police had already insured that the man was no longer on the campus.

Right after the incident, Martinez said that she sent out a notification to all faculty and staff so they could tell their students that everything was safe. Afterward, there was a safety report that was sent out to all the students after the incident occurred. This notification let all students know that there was not an emergency on campus. It also helped quell many false reports of what happened on campus. According to Martinez, there were many false reports that circulated after the incident occurred that affected the college from getting the real story out.

“It made people worried that they were not notified, but there was never a gun on campus,” said Martinez.

That was one of the many reports that the media reported that did not come from SPC administrators. The false reports made it hard for SPC to get the real story out, Martinez said, since there were already so many different versions of what happened circulating.

The college has many procedures in place for any type of incident on campus. In the case of any true emergency, students will be contacted through the college’s emergency notification system, so they know what is going on.

Every faculty and staff member has a copy of emergency procedures. These resources are also available on MySPC on the Safety and Health tab for people to see the procedures for each campus. Also, Martinez recently sent out a reminder for reporting procedures. The email also contains an FBI video titled, “Run, Hide, Fight,” which is a wonderful training video for active shooter situations. It is also important that students inform the college of any situation going on that the campus police might need to be aware of and pay attention to.

It is important to Martinez that students know that the college is a safe place for students to go.

“Students are our first priority,” Martinez said. “We wouldn’t be here without the students… So, people that work here at South Plains College are here to help students, that means protecting students.”

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