In light of recent shootings both in the U.S. and abroad, student safety in the event of a potential incident at UR is of grave concern. Though we hope such events will never happen at UR, we are concerned that students here are grossly unprepared to react appropriately in the event of a school shooting.
To its credit, UR administration has gone out of its way to ensure students are prepared in the event of incidents such as fire or criminal activity. Fire drills regularly occur throughout all residence halls, and students are thoroughly educated on the appropriate response to crimes that may occur in and around campus.
Unfortunately, little to no information has been disseminated to students as to the appropriate response to a shooter on campus. This type of incident, while exceedingly rare, puts students in enough danger and has such deadly consequences that UR must prepare for it.
On Sept. 6, an anonymous bomb threat targeted the President’s office in Wallis Hall. Public Safety and the Rochester Police Department (RPD) responded promptly and cordoned the surrounding area. Nearby students were directed away from the scene. Most were unfazed, but some wanted to clear up their confusion about what was going on. There was no statement released or explanation given afterward.
This situation was controlled, meaning their confusion did not put their lives in jeopardy. What we are fearful of, however, is an ongoing, uncontrolled incident where students have no idea how to best keep themselves safe.
A drill or even a published protocol would help keep students safer amid a school shooting. This protocol could include how Public Safety and RPD would respond, where faculty and students should go, and how individuals should react if they encountered a shooter.
Most students at UR are aware of the growing number of threats they may face, but a vast majority of them do not know how they should respond to these threats.
In the interest of student safety, UR should immediately release and publicize the proper procedures to follow in the case of a potential school shooting.