Active shooter situations and campus diversity among issues tackled at Ask Ora

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Active shooter situations and campus diversity among issues tackled at Ask Ora

Richard Holmes

Richard Holmes

Richard Holmes

Bridget Janis, Staff Reporter

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Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Oakland Center for the third annual Ask Ora open forum on Monday, Nov. 12. This event gives Oakland University students and faculty the chance to ask questions to University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and Vice President of Student Affairs Glenn McIntosh. Oakland University Chief of Police Mark Gordon also made a special guest appearance during the event. Below are some of the questions and answers.

What is the university doing to prepare for tragedies, mainly active shooter situations, such as the tragedies that have been occurring all across campuses?

Gordon: We’ve approached active shooter [situations] specifically for a variety of different directions on campus… The police department has done a tremendous amount of training, with the ability to rely on you to see and tell. We want you to tell us what you see. If it’s concerning, please tell somebody about it. Prevention is done through intervention. We’ve also approached [this] from a faculty standpoint — we are currently in the process of training faculty. I’ve done six sessions now with faculty members, for preparedness in the classroom and what that looks like, to run, to hide, to fight… Again, through police department training, through faculty preparedness, through the ability for all of you to be conscious of your surroundings and concerning behavior.

It is the understanding that there are hundreds of veterans attending OU and hundreds more interested, what is your plan to grow veteran services and support the specific needs of current and future veterans?

Pescovitz: We love this question and we’re very proud of the fact that Oakland University is, first of all, a warm and welcoming place for all, and we are really one of the most desirable places for our veterans. Just this year, we expanded our home for our veterans. […] And I think we have aspirations to really, first of all, become attractive for even more veterans here at Oakland and to grow even further, because obviously our veterans have the opportunity to go anywhere, but we want them to see Oakland University as the university of choice, just like we want other students to see Oakland University as the university of choice.

With the intentions of growing the on-campus housing somewhat dramatically in the near future, what are the university’s plans in terms of gender inclusive housing moving forward?

McIntosh: Throughout all of our Housing system, we’ve been very modernized with gender issues, sexuality issues and so we have floors, we have rooms to accommodate any student and any special needs. We are one of the first schools in the state to address this issue, and we will continue to be the frontrunner in that regard.

Have there been any more efforts to hire more diverse faculty and staff on campus?

Pescovitz: I think that all of you are aware that, when I got here, we had three institutional goals. Our first goal is student success, our second goal is to focus on research and scholarly activity, and our third goal is engagement in the community. When I got here, we had an interest in diversity, we really hadn’t stated that was a specific goal of the institution and I felt that it was very, very important that we create that as a specified goal…I asked the leadership of the university if we could add a fourth goal to our strategic plan, [which is] a goal for diversity, equity and inclusion. During the course of the last year, we did add that fourth goal, and that is now a part of our strategic plan.