Letter to the Editor: UP needs to address campus safety protocols

By Delaney Vetter | March 1, 2018 4:04pm

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Delaney Vetter is a UP student studying abroad this semester. Photo courtesy of Delaney Vetter.

In light of yet another horrific school shooting in Parkland, I, like many others, have been left heartbroken, confused and angry. How can this keep happening?

I grew up in a world of lockdown drills and black paper-covered classroom windows in case of emergency so no one would know you were there. Reading the accounts of survivors from the Florida shootings leads me to wonder if I would know what to do in an active shooting.  

Even though we discussed school shootings and had drills in high school, I cannot imagine having to go through something as horrific as a school shooting.

Many discussions and debates are occurring about the Parkland shooting and what it means for gun control and policymaking, but there has not been much talk about how it affects individual schools and campuses around the country. This includes UP. How does this recent shooting affect the UP community?

Despite a long freshman orientation and going over “green dot” and safety with our workshops, I was never educated on what the safety procedures are if there was an active shooter situation on campus. I would assume professors have been briefed on the procedures, but what about the huge chunk of time students spend at the library, the Commons, the gym, their residence halls or simply walking around campus. What then?

I believe this is not an issue to be taken lightly and needs to be addressed by University of Portland administration and Public Safety in a thoughtful way. No one ever thinks it will happen at their school or on their campus, but until these tragedies stop, we have to stay alert. UP needs to educate students on safety protocol and put systems in place to keep the students and faculty as safe as possible. 

The text alerts on our phones from Public Safety aren’t enough. UP needs a system in place that lets everyone know of the emergency immediately and training for all students on what to do no matter where on campus they are.

Delaney Vetter is studying abroad this semester. She can be reached at vetter20@up.edu

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