CEU lacks active shooter plan

In wake of Virginia Tech tragedy, schools examine their current campus security systems
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2007 - 12:00am

With the disturbing events that took place at Virginia Tech still fresh in students minds, the questions that are raised can be quite compelling. Ignoring probably the most raised question of why, CEU can focus on how to prepare the campus in case it happens here. Let us not be so quick to forget the tragedy that took place, innocent lives lost in a grotesque display of raw hatred. There is a time for grief, but at the same time do not dwell on those feelings of sorrow.

After grieving, students must learn from these events. If schools cannot make their campuses safer, perhaps those lives were lost in vain. So what can be learned from this? One concept students at CEU can learn is that under no circumstance must they underestimate the chance of this happening on this or any other campus.

Vice President for Institutional Adv/Student Services Brad King said, before these events happened, CEU had policies in place to cope with a variety of events ranging from rape to robbery. One thing that was not covered in these policies was an active shooter plan.

After Columbine happened in 1999, the campus still did not have an active shooter plan. Another reminder of shooting violence is the shooting of little Amish girls aged 7-14 that occurred in 2006. A high school shooting as well as the slaughter of little children should have led to a more advanced plan for the future. But again, stress not the past it is over and done with. Look towards the future and plan accordingly.

Students have voiced the opinion that police presence on campus is lacking. Is society using the police as a scapegoat for its problems? It will not matter how many police officers are on campus if no plan is in place to deal with the situation.

King said, CEU has asked for funding to hire a second full-time officer for multiple years, the funding has been provided by the legislature this year, we should not stop there.

King added, one cause for concern at VT was the lack of an adequate public address system. Technology will provide answers to the question of how to provide warning in case of an emergency. One solution that was used in VT was the student's e-mails. This solution was brought up for use at CEU; the only question is how to get students to use their e-mail. Maybe offering prizes or another incentive would coax students to use this free service. A more logical solution would be to use text messaging since the majority of student's now have cell phones or access to them.

CEU has a public address system. 107.9 The Edge, CEU's radio station is located centrally and would be able to broadcast an emergency message. One problem is the limited broadcasting range of the station. Not only does the limited range play a role, but also the inability to pick up the station inside dorms is significant.

King stated, school administration is looking at a wireless PA system located around the campus. This would be logical as well as functional. That system would replace telephones located on campus.

King said a student's first response should still be to call 911 in any emergency. Not only will the police be notified, but they can also contact Officer James Prettyman on campus. These changes are all going to be talked about in meetings that will take place later this week. Since these meetings have not taken place, it is not clear how everything will turn out or what will change.

King finished by saying, another thing that must change is student's participation in the plans of action. Administrators must rely on students to be a first line of defense towards potential threats. Now is not the time to take any threat idly. CEU should not slip into the small town mentality that nothing like this will ever happen here. Wherever there are large numbers of people in one area the potential

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