Emergency management, public safety training, warning systems
in place to alert campus community
By Jillian Baker
KU students raised questions about KU’s emergency response plans after an attack at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
The attack at OSU hospitalized 11 people after a student drove into pedestrians, getting out of his car and slashing bystanders with a butcher knife in Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 28, according to a CNN report.
In reaction to the incident at Ohio State University, Gabrielle Noto, a senior social work major, said, “After every situation I hear about shootings on college campuses, I become more aware that it could happen anywhere at any time.”
Noto said that she doesn’t know what to do during an emergency situation. “I feel like as a student, I should know what to do,” she said.
“My first instinct would be to run if I knew there was an active shooter on campus,” Noto said.
Noto didn’t remember being told information during the Connections Orientation Program, but there was a presentation in her health class last semester.
KU’s Emergency Management Team has plans set in place for many for the hazards that could affect the campus. “We have an extensive Emergency Operation Plan that falls under our EMT coordinator, Jerry Silberman, who is our vice president for administration and finance,” said Matt Santos, director of university relations.
Due to security reasons, Santos said, “Much of the action plan is confidential.”
“The situation at Ohio State is tragic, and one we have seen too much in recent years. I can certainly understand how these incidents raise questions on college campuses, including KU,” said Santos.
“Public Safety and Police Services regularly conduct training and drills for various emergencies, including active shooter training,” Santos said.
University Police offers training to faculty, staff and students and is available upon request. The KU Alert system, which has been developing since 2007, communicates with the entire university during an emergency through emails, text messages and social media.
Kelsey Lyzell is a studio art major who just transferred from East Stroudsburg University this semester.
According to Lyzell, she doesn’t remember receiving information about what to do in an emergency situation at her transfer student orientation.
Lyzell also had a KU police officer come to her health class and give a presentation. “ESU played the
same educational video that the KU police officer played during my health class. Although, the police officer here went more in depth with a class discussion afterward,” she said.
Reflecting on recent events, Lyzell said, “My reaction to school shootings is always disbelief because it’s crazy to me that people can be so violent and irrational. It’s also scary to realize it could happen anywhere to anyone at any time, and that’s why I think it’s important to raise awareness of what to do in an emergency situation.”