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UCF holds forum on school safety concerns

Professors express concerns about troubled students, potential hazards

ORLANDO, Fla. – An open discussion on campus safety concerns was held at the University of Central Florida on Monday.

UCF Police Chief Richard Beary, along with other faculty members, fielded questions from students and staff about the state of the campus with regard to situations such as active shooters or other disturbances.

One professor complained about the older doors in certain buildings and the hazards they may pose.

“The doors, they're open out, so I can't barricade them, and the hinges are on the outside of the door, so I can't belt them,” the professor said.

Beary addressed her concerns, saying a mixture of violations related to compliance with the state fire code and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act has ruled out most door-locking device enhancements. He also acknowledged the lack of funding. Recently, Gov. Rick Scott passed a law making massive changes in security enhancements across Florida, but it did not include colleges.

“There's no money for universities in that. That's all K-12 funding,” Beary said.

He estimates that the costs costs for the needed improvements would exceed $10 million.

Concerns were also brought up about troubled and failing students, and those who held grudges.

Teachers were concerned that online students could try and confront professors in person, and many of the professors don't know what those students look like. School mental health advocates said they were spotting those who seemed troubled or came for help and providing resources for them.

Beary also advised professors to have troublesome students removed.

“That is your space. If they are being disruptive in a classroom, you can have them removed,” he said.

The forum closed with Beary advising students and faculty that they could not make the school bullet proof, but are working hard for best practices. He also advised everyone to continue having dialogues.