May 12, 2011
IMPACT ON CAMPUS RECREATION
Emergency Management Coordinator
Washington State University
Since the tragedy at Virginia Tech and the fatal shootings at Northern Illinois University, the issue of an active shooter on campus has driven much discussion, many changes and considerable concern at colleges and universities throughout North America. While statistics will still indicate that shootings on a college campus are exceedingly rare, no college administrator will want to have to explain why their campus was not prepared for such an occurrence.
In the months following Virginia Tech, hundreds of reports and analyses of the tragedy were released. The result has been a number of changes at college campuses everywhere. These changes have ranged from the acquisition of new locks on buildings, classrooms and meeting areas; sirens and public address systems; text messaging or other communication systems to allow direct contact with students, faculty and staff and all manner of new communications tools that will increase the ability to provide warning and notification capability. Other changes include educational programs with training for students, faculty and staff on what to do and how to react if a shooter appears and the creation of threat assessment teams that can react to and address the issues the institution faces with troubled or problem causing students, faculty and staff and systems created that encourage the campus community to report troubled individuals so they can be reached with the help they need before a tragedy occurs. All these changes have the potential to make a difference and time will tell to see if they will have an impact on making college campuses a safer place to be.