Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Abdul Pridgen will lead the district’s community-based safety program
Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Rym-Maya Kherbache, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
Romi Bales, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024

    Alert system solves some safety concerns

    Blackboard alerts students of emergencies, but safety issues at Laney extend to student health

    Blackboard Connect, the Peralta Community College District’s emergency alert system, has been up and running since the 2014–15 school year.

    It works like an Amber Alert: in case of an emergency, a mass text alert will be sent to all campus community members and students who provided contact information when enrolling at the Peralta Colleges.

    “Haven’t heard of it, but it seems like a good idea,” Laney College student Gabriela Maurier said, echoing how many students feel about the system, given how little publicity the program has received.

    For students who did not provide a number when enrolling, students may sign up for Blackboard Connect through Student Services, Admissions and Records, or their Passport accounts.

    For students without cell phones, Blackboard Connect sends out emails to all those who put in their email when registering with the Peralta Schools.

    However, not every student is attached to their cell phone or email accounts, raising questions about its ability to actually alert all students.

    What is certain is that, in the case of a natural emergency like a fire, the school’s alert system will go off to notify students of the emergency. A speakerphone announcement will
    also be made.

    Left in the Dark

    “Blackboard was the most robust program on the market at the time; that’s why we chose it,” Dr. Sadiq Ikharo of the Department of General Services said. The previous system, Alitify, had become

    However, despite the fact that Blackboard Connect has been active for at least two semesters, students have still been figuratively and literally left in the dark.

    Laney College failed to promptly notify students about an armed robbery that took place just yards from the D building on Oct. 21, 2015.

    Two female Laney students were robbed at gunpoint. The students were not hurt, though they were forced to surrender their cell phones and personal items from their backpacks.

    WalkIt’s unclear why Blackboard Connect wasn’t used for this purpose.

    Meanwhile, as reported on in our April 21 issue, students still feel unsafe at Merritt and Laney Colleges due to poor lighting conditions.

    Laney College Director of Business and Administrative Services Phyllis Carter said that fixing the lighting at Laney is not a priority because the parking lot is right across the street.

    “We have our Safety Aide office there, and we have the highway going by,” Carter said.

    “Hopefully, that deters a little bit of crime.”

    Laney College student Andrea Lara disagrees.

    Lara specifically pointed out that the parking lot area was not safe. She cited hearing about the armed robbery mentioned above.

    Several other students hadn’t even heard of the armed robbery taking place.

    When learning about it, Laney College student Lauren Zimmerman expressed shock and concern.

    “That makes me hesitate to sign up for night classes this fall,” Zimmerman said, signaling a dangerous trend for a district already suffering from underenrollment.

    How to Prioritize.

    While Blackboard may keep us safe from armed robberies and campus shooters, it doesn’t protect students from the unseen dangers to our health.

    Carter pointed out that the District prioritises repairs based off of what is going to affect the student’s ability to learn.

    However, Lara also pointed out that the Laney Cosmetology Department hasn’t had access to hot water.

    “It’s already been two weeks,” said Lara, “we can’t have clients, it’s affecting our class and our careers.”

    Despite the interruption the lack of water is having the school still has yet to address it.

    There is also a leak in the ceiling of one of the Graphic Arts Hall. “The ceilings have been leaking since the beginning of the semester.”

    Zimmerman said. “Nobody has done anything about it.”

    On top of that, the lock on the doors to the graphic art halls are broken.

    “It (the door) will jam, you can’t get it open, kids are locked outside.”

    These are issues that stop learning and yet they haven’t been addressed.

    “I am horrified that the restrooms and water filters are as filthy and lacking as they are,” Laney College student Melissa Romero said.

    “The conditions in which they continue to be in is indicative of a poor internal structure and bad policy work of district management.”

    One solution for students who feel that certain repairs aren’t being made enough is to go to the district yourself.

    “We wrote a letter today and are going to give it to the district,” Lara said, when discussing the lack of warm water.

    The entire Cosmetology department got together to write a letter to the district, they plan on reading at the next minute meeting.

    “Hopefully this will make a difference,” Lara said.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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