Laurier to host violence training

On Feb. 10 and 11, Wilfrid Laurier University will be hosting a conference at the Waterloo Inn focusing on violence threat and risk assessment training. 100 delegates from Laurier, Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph, Sheridan College, Fanshawe College and community partners such as the Waterloo Regional Police and the Guelph Police are expected to attend the conference.

Investigation into recent high-profile violence threats at Virginia Tech and Dawson College show that these incidents could have been prevented.

The problem is that these interventions require information from various separate departments, such as security, human resources and employment law departments.

Rod Curran, director of Laurier’s Special Constable Service, explains that there is a need for a multidisciplinary approach to assess the signs and warnings, and that a threat assessment team has the ability to decide how to best deal with the situation.

“If a professor or student feels that there is a threat out there, it will go through the team, and then the team will decide what to do about the threat and whether to get the police, the special constable service or the dean of students involved.

“What it’s going to do is probably stop a lot of [threats] before they even start. It goes before this team of experts and they decide whether it is a real threat, what action should they take and what action can be taken,” said Curran.

This initiative stems from the Ontario Association of College and Universities

A Security Administrators (OACUSA) conference was held in Hamilton in May of 2008. Kevin Cameron, a representative from the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response (CCTATR), spoke to the ministry of training for possible support for province-wide training.

Curran, the president of OACUSA, is gracious to the ministry of training for providing a grant of $300,000 for this conference.

“I really want to thank the ministry for providing the funds for this, because it wouldn’t have been able to happen without them.”

Curran added that he feels this training will have a direct impact on the safety of Laurier students.

“I think it will make our university a lot safer, and I think this committee will be able to deal with a lot of issues that come forward.”