In the past two weeks, two school shootings have been reported by news outlets all over the country.
First, Delaware State University’s students and faculty found themselves in a panic on Friday, Sept. 21 when two freshmen were shot on campus after an alleged fight in the school’s cafeteria.
Five days later, at St. John’s University in Queens, a 22-year-old freshman was arrested for having a rifle hidden inside a black garbage bag, roaming around campus in a Fred Flintstone mask, the New York Times reported.
People throughout the country were glued to their television sets to see what the outcomes would be. Meanwhile, students located at thousands of universities were waiting to see if these shootings would become incidents like that at Virginia Tech, where several lives were lost at the cost of one person’s anger.
Students here at FDU were no different than others across the nation. Many of us wondered what measures have been taken since Virginia Tech to make our own campus a safer place for students and faculty.
“Anything is possible,” said junior Allison Biederman. “It’s kind of scary to think that this is the second school shooting in less than one year. It really makes you wonder about the precautions our school is making just in case something happens here.”
Glenn Gates, the assistant director of Public Safety, shares the students’ fears of a school shooting on campus, but also knows that he and his team are doing everything possible to prevent such an atrocity.
“Any time there is a shooting incident on a campus, it makes you think what could have been done to prevent such a crime,” said Gates. “Campus safety is a high priority. We have good relations with the local police who respond on campus to our calls and also patrol the campus routinely.”
Students are also wondering what FDU has specifically been doing to make our campus safer in the past year. Recently there have been safety guidelines posted in almost every room to inform students of safety procedures and there seems to be a greater presence of PS, but the officers have also been creating safety procedures behind the scenes.
“We had Police Tactical Response training that was conducted on campus on Aug. 13,” Gates said. “Many local law enforcement agencies, as well as FDU Public Safety officers, trained together in the dorm buildings with role players to simulate a critical incident.”
Even though PS has been taking measures to protect the student body, Gates believes that it is also up to the students to report fights or behavior that could potentially result in a tragedy like Virginia Tech.
“I would hope that if there was any history of problems between students or others, that the police or Public Safety would be notified to prevent any critical incidents,” Gates said.
In the event of two more school shootings, students at The College at Florham are worried that violence could spread to the halls of FDU. By having PS share their plans for advancing campus safety, paired with student cooperation, we could make the campus a safer place.
Published in the October 3, 2007 issue of The Metro