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Garner cites safety efforts for campus

WESSON – Copiah-Lincoln Community College President HowellGarner spoke to the Board of Trustees about safety issues followinga routine board meeting Thursday afternoon at the Henley Buildingon the school’s campus.

Garner said he had received calls and e-mails from a number ofpeople asking if the college was prepared in a case like VirginiaTech. A student killed 32 people on the Blacksburg, Va., campusbefore taking his own life in an April 16 shooting rampage.

“You can’t prevent something like that, but you can takeprecautions,” Garner said.

Garner said the school releases a safety manual every year thatemployees are encouraged to read thoroughly so they will beprepared should there be an emergency on campus.

“Your response in that case is the key,” he said. “I’d encouragepeople to be aware of on-campus traffic and people to see ifthey’re supposed to be here.”

He said his heart goes out to the administration at VirginiaTech, as well as to the families of those killed.

“Virginia Tech has been criticized for their reactions that day,but I can’t be critical,” he said. “They could not have predictedwhat happened, and there’s no possible way to have kept the killerfrom doing what he did. And we need to keep them in ourprayers.”

In other activity, Dr. Steve Wells applauded the staff for theirwork in balancing the budget.

“We should feel good, and the taxpayers should feel good aboutthe work they’re doing,” he said, citing especially BusinessManager Michael Tanner. “This is our second year for salaryincreases and we have money for special needs. We owe them all ourappreciation.”

The board also released their five-year capital improvementplan, to begin in 2009. Slated for that year are construction of aHealthplex on the Wesson Campus, estimated at around $150,000, androof repairs expected to cost $250,000.