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October 31, 2016


‘Serve and protect’ takes on new meaning for police

police in training

Police department specialist Stephanie Murphy and officer Brian Thomas, left, practice with instructor Marie Potts as Potts' interpreter (far left) looks on.

Police work takes all sorts of twists and turns for officers and they’re generally ready for anything. Countless hours of training and certification help prepare the men and women in blue. However, when it comes to dealing with the hearing impaired, there can be a communication gap. That’s where some Columbus State police officers are stepping up.

Members of the college’s Disability Services Department have been leading informal training sessions for officers to teach them American Sign Language (ASL). “It’s not required,” says safety and security specialist Stephanie Murphy, “But it is something I’ve wanted to do since I arrived here a few years ago so I was given the chance to help set it up this year.”

“The officers who are learning sign language are helping to eliminate barriers to communication,” says Marie Potts, an advocate in the Disability Services Department. “We have deaf and hard of hearing students, faculty and staff at Columbus State who use ASL. When they’ve needed assistance to file a report, or obtain a college ID, there was minimum communication until an interpreter was available. Now these brief interactions can begin without one and it’s sending a message to the entire college community that inclusion is important.”  

Each class generally has six, one-hour sessions spread over several weeks. Officer Brian Thomas is among those currently taking the class. “I see this as another way for me to provide better service and be more inclusive of our entire campus community.  The bonus is that it allows me to participate in something I personally find interesting.”

And it’s already paying off for officers like Laura Diamond who recently completed the training. She was dispatched to assist a deaf employee whose car would not start. “When I went to meet her, she started to pull paper out to write, but I signed to her and she was surprised that I could sign and was very relieved and grateful for the help,” says Diamond. “Her husband, who’s also deaf, was there as well. I tried to give the car a jump start, which didn't work. I was then able to sign - and fingerspell - that it wasn't a battery issue since I could hear the starter clicking.”

The basic training for the police department nearly mirrors classes for students or other populations. “The teaching is similar to other ASL classes we have offered to the college community,” says Potts. “It starts with the alphabet, numbers, greetings, and general Columbus State-related vocabulary. There are a number of other signs that we are incorporating that apply directly to the police department’s interactions with faculty, staff, and students.”

And it takes serious commitment and dedication for those who’ve volunteered. 

“The officers and specialist who are learning sign language are helping to eliminate barriers to communication,” says Potts. “For lengthy or complicated interactions, there should always be a qualified interpreter to ensure accurate communication is occurring between the police and the hearing impaired or deaf individual. The Columbus State police department has always been aware of our diverse campus community and we’re grateful for their willingness to collaborate with Disability Services.”


First Wednesday scheduled for Nov. 2

President Harrison's monthly meeting for employees, First Wednesday, will be held Wednesday, November 2, beginning at 8:15 a.m. in the Conference Center Ballroom, fourth floor WD. The meeting will also be live streamed for those not able to attend in person, online here.


Online student training begins this week

As part of our Columbus State’s commitment to maintaining a learning environment that is healthy, safe and respectful, the offices of Equity and Compliance and Student Life have collaborated to launch “Haven/Haven Plus” training for all Columbus State students. The comprehensive online training program focuses on critical issues impacting college students including sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and sexual harassment. Within the next week, all students will receive an email with instructions on how to access the training.  If your students ask about this training, please encourage them to participate.


Peer Advocates offer extra support

women talking

Do you know a student in need of some extra support to help them be successful at Columbus State?  Refer them to the Peer Advocates to have a one-to-one session.  Peer Advocates are student employees in the Student Advocacy Department who provide individual support to students, by:

  • Assisting them with problem solving and action planning to address barriers and challenges.
  • Connecting them to college and community resources and student engagement opportunities.
  • Helping them navigate college processes.
  • Referring them to appropriate departments for further assistance.
  • Providing tools and tips for success.
  • Offering in-class workshops on key areas for success, such as time management, organizational skills, study skills, and more.
  • Linking them to community resources for housing, food pantries, and health care, among other areas. 

Peer Advocates are trained Ohio Benefit Bank counselors and can assist students in completing applications for state assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

Appointments are recommended but walk-in services may be available.  To schedule an appointment with a Peer Advocate, email or call ext. 5192.  The office is located in Aquinas Hall 116. If your department would like to learn more about Peer Advocates and other Student Advocacy programs, or you would like to have a Peer Advocate provide a workshop for your class, please email Tari Blaney, director of Student Advocacy, or call ext. 5021.


Sponsors still needed for International Thanksgiving Dinner

graphic of thanksgiving food

In the spirit of sharing American traditions with our international student population, Columbus State’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Center will host the annual International Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 17.  This event allows international students and their families to enjoy a traditional meal with family and friends of the college, and more than 100 students are expected to participate this year.

Your help and support are needed to make this event a success. Your contribution will be used to provide dinner tickets for international students and their families and to help cover event expenses. 
Donor options are:
GOLD Sponsorship: $200 - Provides tickets for 10 international students and 3 guests from your department to cover dinner and other event costs.

SILVER Sponsorship: $110 - Provides tickets for 5 international students and 2 guests from your department.

BRONZE Sponsorship: $50- Provides tickets for 2 international students and 1 guest from your department.

If you would like to attend the event, individual tickets can be purchased for an additional $15 per person. Checks can be made payable to Columbus State Community College and sent to Jasmine Marks, Specialist in Global Diversity and Inclusion, MA 109.  Thank you for your generosity during this giving season!


group photo

Women’s Connection serves Goodwill

Members of the 2016-2017 Women’s Connection recently volunteered at the Goodwill Columbus Warehouse where they sorted donated goods for hours to help support Goodwill’s program. Forty-two of the 104 Women’s Connection students and mentors had a fun bonding experience working together in the warehouse. If you’d like to learn more about Women’s Connection, please contact Sarah Baker, or visit The Hub to find out more.










A few reminders:
Concert Band performs tomorrow
The Autumn Semester Band Concert will be performed Tuesday, November 1, at 8:00 p.m. in the Conference Center Ballroom, fourth floor WD.

Umoja Karamu Unity Feast is Wednesday
The Columbus State community is invited to attend the third annual Umoja Karamu Unity Feast celebration, Wednesday, November 2, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Conference Center Ballroom 

Children's book donations needed
The Collegiate Leadership Conference of Ohio, to be held November 4 and 5 at Columbus State, will include a community service project and book drive. This year, the student project supports the Ohio chapter of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Reach Out and Read program. Please donate new or gently used children's books by dropping them off at the SEaL Department in Nestor Hall 116 by Friday, November 4. If you have any questions please contact the SEaL Department at (614) 287-2637or email Katrina de los Santos.

Veterans Day celebration planned for Nov. 9
Join Columbus State’s Military and Veterans Services to recognize our past and present service members of the U.S. Armed Forces on Wednesday, November 9, at 12:00 p.m. on the Columbus Campus, in the central courtyard. The rain location will be in the Nestor Hall Auditorium.


Submit your news to Update

Do you have news or an announcement for the employees of Columbus State? Send your news to Update, the Columbus State newsletter exclusively for employees. Update is published every Monday and Thursday during the semester, and on Mondays during semester breaks. Send your news to by Friday at noon for inclusion in the Monday edition, and Wednesday at noon for the Thursday edition. Update editors reserve the right to edit submissions for clarity, brevity and editorial style.

Submit your news to students in Campus Life

Are you hosting a special event for students, starting a new class next semester, offering a workshop or seminar of interest, or would you like to share a special student success story? Send your news to Campus Life, the weekly online publication for Columbus State students. Send student news to by Tuesday at noon for inclusion in the Wednesday edition of Campus Life. Campus Life headlines are sent to students via email each Wednesday during the semester.