Despite recent attacks, RRC committed to stay a public space


Shards of glass lie next to a smashed-in window on Princess Street on Friday, Feb. 17. THE PROJECTOR/ Erik Pindera

A pile of glass lies next to a broken window at Red River College’s Roblin Centre on the morning of Friday, Feb. 17. Minutes later, security guards tape cardboard over the smashed window and call the incident in.

Just a random act of vandalism, according to security.

The college has been increasing security on campus, including installing more security cameras and hosting personal safety seminars led by the Winnipeg Police Service. This comes after Winnipeg police arrested a suspect for five stabbings in the Exchange District. Two victims were RRC students, and one stabbing happened in the Roblin Centre.

But RRC is a public space and will remain that way, according to Rick Lange, supervisor of security at the Roblin Centre and Paterson GlobalFoods Institute.

Security wouldn’t release to The Projector their official policy documents on building access, but Lange said in an email their policy review will “include looking at the hours our buildings are open to the public.”

As it stands, members of the public can access the building between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. without a student card. Students can access the campus a little longer, from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m., provided they have their student card.

“Generally, the public is permitted access to any area on-campus if they have a purpose for being in that space,” Lange said in an email.

That means anyone can access the campus when it’s open, whether to buy a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons on the main floor or use the washrooms. They just need a reason to be there.

“I come here every morning to have a coffee and warm up,” said Philip Lemoine, 28, who lives nearby.

People like Lemoine have the right to access the college campus as long as they aren’t harassing students, Lange said, and issues of harassment are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“I got in trouble for asking people for smokes, so I don’t do that anymore,” said Lemoine.

If a problem arises with a member of the public, security deals with the issue, and that doesn’t necessarily mean banning people from the campus.

To prevent issues from happening, campus security tries to develop relationships with people who regularly use the space.

“Our security officers regularly engage with visitors to the college,” said Lange in an email.

“The security guards are nice people,” said Lemoine. “I say hello to them every morning.”

According to Lange, security’s personal case-by-case approach to building access has worked well in the past.

“Very few of these types of incidents have ever occurred on campus,” said Lange in an email, referring to violent assaults.

Some RRC students say they see issues like the Jan. 13 stabbing as tragic, isolated incidents — assaults happen, and security can’t be everywhere at once.

“I think something like that can happen anywhere — I have never felt unsafe in the building,” said Lena Shepherd, a 23-year-old business administration student.