BY MATTHEW VAN WAGENEN
Franciscan University administrators have plans in place to respond to the unthinkable.
Throughout the past decade alone, there have been dozens of shootings and acts of violence on school campuses, including colleges, high schools and elementary schools around the country.
Naturally, Franciscan and Jefferson Security have worked closely to come up with emergency response and evacuation procedures should an event similar to these occur.
Mike Conn, the director of Campus Security, was unable to give details regarding the tactics of a response plan to an active shooter situation but reassured students that Franciscan and Jefferson Security do plan to the best of their abilities to respond appropriately.
“We are sensitive to the subject,” said Conn. “The school does have a plan in place. We test the plan annually in some way, whether it be tabletop or drill.”
Naturally, students are often uncomfortable in reference to this particular topic. However, due to the unpredictability of acts of violence and endangerment to the student body, some students have accepted potential risks as something to pay attention to but not to lose sleep over.
Luke Starre, a senior studying finance, says that although the administration and Jefferson Security have an active plan for responding to events such as these, there is only so much that can be done in advance.
“It’s not necessarily because of Franciscan,” said Starre. “I would say that even the best system can’t really account for such a shocking or quick event. You can have the best plan but unless you have armed guards there 24/7, there really isn’t a way.”
Resident assistants are taught each year their roles in an emergency and campus security policy.
“All of the RA’s are given a talk about campus safety buy the head of Jefferson Security during our fall training,” said Jessica Campana, an R.A. in St. Thomas Moore Hall.
Online, details pertaining to the Emergency Response and Evacuation Policy, the President of the University, the Emergency Coordinator and the Emergency response team will work together to determine the size and scope of the event and how the notification process will take place. Notifications will be sent expeditiously to campus phones, campus email addresses and registered cell and home phones.
The two main response procedures are lockdowns and evacuations. During a lockdown, people in the building are to remain locked in their respective rooms until notified that the situation is all clear. Evacuations can be full or partial, depending on the nature of the event. Sections of buildings can be evacuated due to events such as chemical emergencies. Entire buildings or groups of buildings can be evacuated due to larger scale events.
Students can simply arm themselves with knowledge by reading up online. Also, when a situation occurs, approaching it with common sense and good rationale can help greatly. Lastly, all students should have campus and local emergency phone numbers programmed into their phones.