Editorial: MU lacks the procedure to guarantee campus safety
The active threat on campus last Wednesday revealed the university’s lack of readiness when dealing with potentially deadly threats to students.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Maneater editorial board.
Oct. 26, 2017
At 11:21 a.m. last Wednesday, MU Alert issued an alert to students reporting that there was “an active threat near Hitt St/Locust St.”
Over an hour later, an “all clear” statement was sent to students. Throughout that hour plus, the entire alert process was incredibly vague. The alerts were incredibly infrequent as well; MU Alert’s Twitter account posted an update labeled as information from 11:38 a.m. at 11:54 a.m. After this 11:38 a.m. update was released, there was not another update until 12:08 p.m. In the event of an active threat on campus, 30 minutes without updated information leaves ample room for, to say the least, questions to arise.
This proved that MU’s means of disseminating information were sub par to say the least. On top of the reported failure of some faculty’s ability to deal with the situation, this has ultimately led students to lose confidence in MU’s ability to keep them safe.
After the situation dissolved, reports of faculty’s actions during the situation revealed absolute faults in MU’s protocol to address active threats. The Maneater staffers witnessed professors in some classes blatantly ignore the alerts, leave the classroom with students still inside and, on one occasion, panic and ask students, “What should we do?” It goes without saying that plenty of professors and faculty responded to the threat accordingly. But in a situation that could have ended with a student being harmed, a single failure by any professor is one too many.
Several professors pointed out in the following days that they had received no training whatsoever prior to the incident; one of these professors has been teaching at MU for over a decade. To some departments’ credit, after Wednesday they issued guidelines as to how faculty and staff should address an active threat. But the mere idea that these protocols were not already in place is incredibly embarrassing on MU’s part.
Parts of MU are capable enough to enforce some form of a lockdown. Residence halls run by staff and students were able to lock down and inform the students inside of the threat outside. We did not see the same sort of reactions all over campus, however. While some major university buildings did go into a form of lockdown, many high-traffic areas such as Speakers Circle remained relatively unrestricted during the incident. Crowds of students were seen walking in both Red and White Campus before the situation was all clear. This is incredibly problematic and proof that news of a threat on campus was not made widely available to all students.
What transpired this past Wednesday was an opportunity, a test, for the university and, by extension, the MU Police Department, to show its readiness in response to a shooting or some other form of attack. For all intents and purposes, MU failed this test