Do you think most people on campus are aware of what to do if an armed intruder is reported on campus?
That was campus public safety lead supervising safety officer Jerry Rice response to whether or not Pacific University is prepared to respond to an active shooter threat.
University readiness for active shooter threats have been a hot topic, especially in the northwest, since the UCC shooting; one that Pacific administration and public safety has been heavily involved in improving since 2013.
At a Student Senate meeting, president Lesley Hallick admitted that Pacific is not where she thinks it needs to be in readiness for emergency procedures.
“Sure the universities are behind the eight ball when it comes to active shooter preparedness,” said Rice. “It’s a fairly new phenomenon. Who would have thought ten or twenty years ago that this was going to be a problem?”
Making the campus more secure and prepared has proven to be a multifaceted and multilayered process that will not realistically be achieved in the near future but the administration has committed to making it a big priority, both monetarily and effort-wise.
Because of the urgency of updating the emergency plan, Hallick said the administration appointed a committee to be led by legal council Scott Schuman. The committee has been researching and reporting on the best ways to enhance university preparedness.
As it currently stands, the latest document concerning university preparedness for active shooters and general emergencies was written in 2011. Rice said updating the online version to accommodate current standards is the first step in making the campus a safer place.
Hallick said less immediate goals to improve emergency preparedness are implementing building-wide and campus- wide drills as well as allocating university budget money to get more buildings on campus to be installed with the card reader locks. Rice said having more buildings on the card system would allow CPS to lock them down in case of an emergency and would be a good first step to preparedness but that there are many complicated factors to getting a college university on a regulated security system.
“You have to consider all the entries to all the different buildings, how we lock the buildings, how each building is laid out, what their services are, the kinds of people in them, ect. It’s really hard to get them all to be universalized,” said Rice. “There’s what’s important versus what we can do with our budget vs smaller things we can accomplish right away.”
Rice said that realistically, it might take upwards of five years to get the university on a level of preparedness that he would find satisfactory.
Of the more immediate goals, Hallick said the university will be releasing online training videos to Moodle before thanksgiving for students and faculty.
The committee is mostly in the research phase but Hallick said a lot more discourse and news about their findings will be made public in November.