By Jack Carver
BELLEVILLE – Despite an armed break-in at a Loyalist College residence in November, students and faculty are saying they feel safe.
Dianne Spencer, the college’s executive director for college advancement and external relations, said that security changes are being made and students can feel protected on campus.
“Loyalist is a safe campus,” Spencer said in an interview with QNet news. “As a college community we have a responsibility to maintain that culture of safety, and that is certainly happening. There have been and will continue to be ongoing security modifications. These are happening all the time as part of the college’s safety procedures.”
Asked what the modifications are, Spencer declined to go into specifics. Changes to security are always being made to improve safety on campus, she said.
But how do students feel?
Ade Damola, a first-year student in the advertising program, said people should allow some time for things to get back to normal after the November incident, in which four men armed with shotguns broke into a residence and stole some electronic devices.
“It was an unusual case; it was unexpected,” Damola said. “Time should be given for things to settle back. It was a bit of a shock. If the school has communicated that they are doing everything to restore that confidence, then yes, I feel safe.”
That feeling is shared by Dominic Dickson, a student in the electrical-technician program.
“Loyalist is still a safe place. You can only prepare so much for what might happen,” Dickson said. “Some people might still do stupid things, and you can only prepare so much for that. Even though all this stuff has happened, it’s still a good community. People are still nice here and people are generally good, from what I’ve seen so far.”
Recreation and leisure student Alyssa Horning said that the security presence on campus is reassuring.
“They do a good job at making sure the doors are always locked. And if there are any issues, security (staff are) always right at hand,” she said.
“I have had no issues in feeling unsafe at all. There are always lights on (and) cameras and people around.”
Four people were arrested after the break-in. They are awaiting trial.