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College security policies remain the same after uOttawa carding incidents

Security training on campus is always the first priority especially when it involves the protection of students and staff on campus, however, how much can campuses do to ensure the safety of students?

In September, the University of Ottawa saw two incidents on separate occasions, whereby black students were carded for no reason while on campus property. Despite the changes that were implemented shortly after the first incident, a second incident occurred, only this time, the black student, who was also an employee had allegedly been forced to provide his ID upon entry at a university residence building.

At Algonquin College, however, has a policy in place to ensure every student is protected, which is not necessarily from a carding incident. According to the manager of security and emergency services, Michael Laviolette, the college does have policies that protect not just students but also visitors as well.

The training also plays a role in the college’s safety.

“Training is always being updated to meet the needs of our people and the college community,” Laviolette wrote in an email to the Times. Algonquin College Corporate Training has also partnered with the Ottawa Police in order to provide not just mechanical training but also de-escalation and disengagement.

When Laviolette was first employed at the college, he worked closely with the management team to modify changes based on the “current best practices in the industry.”

According to the Student and Employment policy which was first approved in 2005, it states that if an Algonquin College employee (while still on the property) is asked for identification, they are obliged to present it to security personnel.

If any students or staff refuses to comply with this request, the college would take “disciplinary measures.” This may mean, depending on the situation, “removal from the premises.”

The mandatory review date for this policy was on Nov. 23, 2016. Although it is not uncommon to see policies that have not been updated accordingly to their review dates, the policies are still effective. “This particular policy is still effective and there have been no significant changes in practices but is overdue for review,” said Laviolette. “This will be given a priority focus to correct this condition,”

On June 28, 2019, Algonquin College security forced a non-student off the campus. Noah Coker, who was 21 at the time, was walking from Loblaws on the way to his home near Tower Road, was warned by campus security that he was crossing private property. According to the CBC report, security staff at the time stated that the young man, who was black, was “noticeably intoxicated” when security approached him.

Although Laviolette cannot comment on any incident specifically, he does, however, make sure his team is equipped to better handle these situations.

“As a team, we always perform a review when we have any type of notable incident,” wrote Laviolette. “To see, what, if anything we can learn to better prepare our team to serve our community.”

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