Western Courier

Western is prepared for the worst

Allison Young, Opinions Writer

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A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on what the procedure would be if there was an active shooter on campus. As a student, I was very concerned that I was not informed on how to react in the situation of an active shooter.

But on Wednesday, I had a meeting with Scott Harris and William Digger about my concerns. Harris is the Director of Public Safety and William is a Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness contact. Talking to the two of them made me feel way more confident in the procedures we would take at Western.

First and foremost, Scott Harris has a very long background in the police force; he has been working in the force for about 36 years. He seems to know what he is doing, or what he would do in the situation of a shooter on campus. He began to inform me the importance of reading the Stars emails we all receive. There is information in those emails that will inform us with the happenings on campus. Next he told me that every year, our staff and faculty can partake in a program called Run, Hide, Fight, which outlines different scenarios of there being an active shooter on campus.

At this point in the conversation I was still a little curious as to why students did not get this training as well, but later Harris mentioned possibly getting students in the First-Year Experience courses to go through the training as well. I think if the campus could make this happen it would be beneficial to all students and their well-being. Resident Assistants will also be required to receive this training if things go as planned in the future.

Harris informed me that last year in the spring they opened a Run, Hide, Fight program for students, and only 70 people showed up. The thing that Harris outlined the most was that they try to be careful not to play out certain scenarios too much. Some people might get it in their minds that no matter what happens that is the plan of action they would take. And the topic of there being an active shooter is already a sensitive topic for some, they try to do their best to make sure all students will stay safe with the information given out.

One thing I did not know about Western’s campus is that there are several blue lights all around campus. And on some of those lights there are speakers; so, in a traumatic situation they would be able to push out messages to students walking across campus that way. In emergency situations students get sent an email informing them of the situation, but if students fill out more information they will also receive text messages and phone calls. Digger told me that several students do not choose to give them that information, but he encourages them to because we are more likely to get the message that way.

I enjoyed my meeting with Harris and Digger because I felt way more informed and comfortable with the campus’ procedures. For more information on the Run, Hide, Fight program, you can find it all on Western’s official website under Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Western is prepared for the worst