As students prepare to return to Warner Pacific for spring semester, I wanted to provide you with an update regarding an incident that took place on campus on December 19, 2011. Early that morning three assailants broke into and robbed a campus apartment on the grounds of Warner Pacific College. Though an assailant was armed, all those in the apartment, and all on-campus students were unharmed. With the College’s winter break beginning the previous Saturday, most students had returned home for the holidays and all residence halls were empty.
Our primary concern is for the safety of our students and our campus community as well as our surrounding neighborhoods.
Since the incident, the College has increased campus safety patrols, Portland Police department has increased the patrols of the campus and the neighborhood, and deadbolt locks are being installed on apartment doors that did not previously have them. We are reviewing our surveillance camera coverage to determine how we can enhance our coverage. Additionally, we have added more lighting and completed a survey of the campus to identify areas where shrubs need to be cut back for visibility (and trimming of shrubs has been completed). The College consistently provides 24/7 campus safety coverage and, as mentioned above, has increased the number of staff on patrol since the incident.
Campus services are available to support and care for students who are concerned about their safety as a result of this incident. Our Campus Safety, Counseling Services and Student Affairs staff, as well as the administration and all employees are available to support students as they return to campus.
The College continues to work closely with Portland Police Department as they continue their investigation into this matter. The College has provided the police with surveillance video that was captured, as well as facilitated interviews with all individuals in the apartment, and those who were in the area at the time of the incident.
Each year the College completes a comprehensive report about our campus crime statistics. The report prepared this fall shows that crimes on our campus have declined over the past three years. Campus Safety is a high priority and we have consistently worked to provide a safe environment on campus and to improve our crime statistics.
I convened a meeting with all students who were on campus on the same day as the incident. I encouraged that students and staff to cooperate fully with Portland Police as they complete their investigation. Additionally, I asked everyone to refrain from speculating or sharing secondhand information, as it can lead to confusion and distraction away from the central facts about the incident.
Please know that we are committed and working hard to ensure that Warner Pacific College’s campus is safe. We take students’ concerns about safety very seriously, and have continually addressed and improved the safety protocols and systems on our campus. I have scheduled a student forum for Tuesday, January 10th, to talk about the incident and to update students on campus safety protocols.
I hope this message addresses any concerns you may have. I look forward to talking with students next week and welcome your phone calls as well.
P.S. We will continue to update information as available and appropriate on our website at www.warnerpacific.edu