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Campus Safety: Keeping us safe from what?

In light of recent events — namely small campus school shootings and the local double homicide — I’ve been thinking a lot about my safety at MVNU.

If we did have a gunman on campus, what would I do? Does MVNU have a lockdown procedure? If there is one, why am I not aware of it? And why don’t we practice it?

With the rise of both school and religious shootings, the possibility of an armed gunman on our campus becomes all too real. Though violence is rare statistically, it is the scary new normal we all face.

MVNU has a great emergency texting system (if you have certain carriers) that can alert us to danger, but what happens next?

Believe me, I have thought this through. I already know I wouldn’t last long in the zombie apocalypse — how would I survive a school shooting?

Would I count on Campus Safety? Myself? A locked door? When it comes to emergency protocol, I know what to do in case of a tornado, but that’s about it.

I looked on the portal, and while we do have a “campus emergency response plan” it mostly outlines who can make decisions:

• Level 1 – Minor Incident: Departments will respond in accordance with department/building protocols. If the matter has the potential to escalate to Level 2 or Level 3, contact Campus Safety at 740-399-8686 (off campus) or extension 8686 (on campus).

• Level 2 – Major Event: The ESLT and EOT will be deployed.

• Level 3 – Major Crisis: The ESLT and EOT will be deployed.

I’m super glad that the steps are outlined so well and explain exactly what faculty, staff and students are supposed to do in specific cases of danger. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

Let’s be honest — most people equate MVNU Campus Safety with “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” But just because students may not take Campus Safety’s job seriously doesn’t mean the officers don’t — they are certainly vigilant.

Example: I was really hungry one night after skipping the cafeteria and went to McDonald’s for a burger. I was listening to a really great CD and figured I’d park in the apartment’s lot to finish the song and my burger.

Campus Safety regularly patrols the parking lots and this night was no different. A Campus Safety vehicle passed by my car once, then circled back around.

Next thing I knew, there was a HUGE LIGHT shining into my car. I swear I could hear helicopters and a megaphone, “POLICE! COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!” I mean, the light was that bright.

So I stepped out of the car with my hands up and the half-eaten burger raised above my head, explaining, “I’m just eating a burger. Alone. In my car.”

To his credit, Buck made sure my car was really empty and that I wasn’t making out with anything other than a burger.

While we sometimes joke about our Campus Safety Department, the truth is, our officers do their job well.

Campus safety employees 1) offer protection for the physical well-being of students, faculty and staff; 2) enforce the community policies that pertain to the safety of all members of the campus community; 3) provide physical protection of the campus facilities; and 4) regularly publish information about campus security and safety.

So, I have to ask, is it really Campus Safety’s fault that, rather than crimes, they only have burgers to protect us from?

While Paul Blart may not look like our traditional heroes, he still saved the day. I’d say our Campus Safety officers have it in them to do the same — the villain is bound to underestimate them.

But to make us all feel a little safer, we need to have (and practice) a prepared community response in case of a violent situation on campus.

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