One Security Officer for an Entire University and Two High Schools: Colorado Heights University is Putting Denver at Risk

When Denver Police were recently called to a domestic disturbance on the campus of Colorado Heights University, and subsequently fired several rounds at a suspect running on foot, there was just one security officer on duty protecting the entire 74-acre campus.

Unfortunately, this is standard policy for Colorado Heights University, and after witnessing too many risks to the campus community, the security officers employed by the school are speaking out. On Friday, officers rallied alongside local supporters and students who are tired of the lack of safety on campus.

Previously this year, six security officers were employed by Colorado Heights University to provide public safety. What they experienced on the job shows a seeming lack of commitment to safety at the university. Not only was just one officer assigned to be on duty at a time, they also had a lack of training, benefits, vacation or paid sick time -- and when they asked for a raise for their hard work, their shifts were cut back instead.

Realizing their employer was doing little to ensure the safety of the community, the officers sought to form a union with SEIU and address their concerns with the university together. But the university administration had a different plan. After speaking out to students and the public about crime in the surrounding area, two of the officers were threatened by their supervisor and a third was removed from his job. One of the threatened officers later quit due to working conditions and treatment from the university.

Now, the Colorado Heights University campus, which also houses two Denver public charter high schools, is left with 4 officers to rotate protecting the faculty and student body. The officers have now filed 9 unfair labor practices against the university.

The recent police shooting incident is under investigation, and the students at Colorado Heights are rightly concerned. But unless the university addresses the serious safety and job concerns of their security officers, the entire community will continue to be at risk. Located within the city of Denver, the campus area has had more than 282 crime offenses that have been reported nearby in the last 6 months, including motor vehicle thefts, public disorder, aggravated assaults, burglaries, hit and runs and other crimes against persons.

We'll be watching to see if the university takes appropriate actions in addressing their officers' and students' concerns, and reinstates the officer they fired.