Peter Fourlaris: “Tell the readers a bit about yourself, what is your job title here at Concordia?”
Andrew Sterne: “I’m the director of security and custodial services. Security provides access control, that’s basically giving authorized people access to rooms that they may need access to. 95% of security is service oriented; we provide services to help people out basically. Typically security is access control, sometimes it can involve first aid; we have quite a few first aid incidents each year. We also have a large amount of lost and found items, typically at the beginning of the academic year, and then maybe again in the wintertime. Security also monitors the security cameras, deals with incidents such as theft, or concerns over an individual’s behaviour. Custodial services is probably a bit more straightforward, it’s cleaning, and ensuring the campus is clean on the inside, that it’s maintained throughout the day.”
PF: “Two weeks ago Concordia had an “Active Shooter Drill,” what was the intention of the drill, and are you pleased with the responses it got?”
Sterne: “Yes. The intention of the drill was to help people become better prepared if they ever face a really unlikely event such as an active shooter anywhere in their sphere of life. Until you test someone in this skillset, until you’re tested, you might not know how you’re doing in that area. The purpose of the drill was partly to test them, and partly to motivate them to get training and take it seriously, and learn how to respond in this situation. Overall I was pleased with it, especially when I take into account that it was only the second Active Shooter Drill we’ve ever done, so we’re still in the learning phase. There’s improvements that can be made, but that’s natural when something is relatively new. Overall most people understood the need for it, and why we are doing it. If the least it did was to help people think of what they would do in that situation, then it’s positive. I’m not trying to scare monger; it’s more about the preparation, and hoping you never need it, it’s a little like first-aid or CPR training, you do the training and hope you never have to use it.”
PF: “Will there be more drills like that one again in the near future?
Sterne: “Possibly. This is one of those things that has to be organized, it’s not just up to up to me if another drill happens, for instance, senior administration definitely needs to be on board with it. We’ll see next year what happens.”
PF: “Do you have any recommendations for students/staff on what they need to improve upon if this situation were to ever actually happen?”
Sterne: “I would recommend, if you haven’t taken training in the last year or a half to take it. I provided two lunchtime sessions hoping that many people would be available to go, but overall it wasn’t well attended. By and large I think the drill went well, but some people were unsure of what to do, and if they had attended the training it would have been clearer as to what they should do. It is still a chaotic situation, but having had the training and practice, you could have a better and quicker reaction. With training you are likely to choose the better options, and I say options because there are of course more than one.”
PF: “Do you have any general advice for students regarding safety on campus?”
Sterne: “Trust your intuition, and this is not just on campus but in your everyday life, if intuitively you sense that something is not right, you’re probably correct. It’s not always about your own safety, sometimes you might be observing a friend who is having difficulties in life, you might think that something is not right, trust your intuition. And if you’re uncomfortable to support that friend yourself, then get help. One of the things we have here at Concordia is a behavioural support intervention team. That team’s purpose is to intervene when people have troubling behaviours, it’s for the well being of the campus as a whole, but also for the individual.”
PF: “In all your years at Concordia, what has been the funniest thing you have seen happen on campus?”
Sterne: “Some of the Halloween outfits that people have worn before have been really funny. I remember people dressing up in Star Wars regalia and stuff like that, or some really interesting outfits, like someone wearing a box pretending to be a box of tissues. Being around young people with a lot of enthusiasm lets you see some funny stuff occasionally.”
PF: “What is your favourite hobby away from work?”
Sterne: “Hunting. I don’t go very often, but once in a blue moon I get to. I go to a place called Deadwood, which is about five hours north from here. I mainly hunt deer.”
Thank you, Mr. Sterne for a fantastic and insightful interview. And on behalf of all students and staff on campus, thank you for doing such a great job ensuring the safety and well-being of all of us on campus.
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