Double the lockdowns, double the anxiety

Classes continued with a potentially armed shooter on campus.

With professors on campus who decide to continue classes with a potentially armed shooter on the loose, who is to say that our students can feel safe when going through another situation similar to this one?

On March 1, TU’s main campus went on lockdown in response to a burglary that resulted in the death of one and the arrest of another. The second home invader ran onto campus. She evaded police for several hours until she was eventually found at about 5:15 p.m. hiding near TU.

As the campus was slammed into a lockdown with TPD and Campus Security ensuring people were sheltering in place, classes at Oxley Campus downtown continued as normal. With phones buzzing with updates from the alert system, breaths hushed and stress at an all-time high, some professors decided to continue having classes, regardless of the situation developing.

From roughly 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Campus Security enacted a shelter-in-place (SIP) order for students and faculty. Students were not supposed to be outside of buildings and were escorted to safe spaces on campus. Coming only a month after the fatal shooting at MSU which claimed five lives, a potentially armed and dangerous individual making their way onto our campus provided a fearful event that left students, including myself, with feelings of incredible anxiety.

Luckily, no student on campus was injured or killed, and the suspect left campus before being arrested hours after the initial burglary, in which the other suspect was shot dead at the scene.

One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, felt as though their professor, who continued class during the intense lockdown, did not take the SIP order seriously. Regardless of whether the suspect was armed or not, the order should have been taken seriously, and the student felt as though their safety was potentially at risk. They felt that the situation was not taken seriously, and the professor in question was not named.

I was downtown at the Oxley campus during the entire event, where classes continued as normal, regardless of the suspect being on the main campus. In the policy of the university, there is no separate stipulation for what to do at Oxley, and there should be a section that specifies what to do in the event of a SIP on the main campus. I was shocked to continue receiving updates while my professor pushed forward in the lecture, and only after about an hour of the course did my professor realize what was going on. They claimed that since they were not on TU’s main campus, they could continue as scheduled, even though no policy exists for this instance.

The policy in place at the university is set to protect students, and it is essential for professors to adhere to these policies, especially in situations such as these, where students’ and professors’ safety are potentially placed in harm’s way.

Less than two weeks later, another suspect in an unspecified crime was potentially on campus around 11 p.m. on March 10. I spoke with a student who was walking around campus when the announcement occurred. The student claimed that they were walking with a group of other students on their way to QuikTrip for a snack when Campus Security approached them. The group was questioned why they were out on campus and asked to get in the Campus Security vehicle to be escorted back to their living space.

After the first SIP order from the March 1 lockdown, a couple of students said that they did not think the charges were severe, and this is why they were out and about during the second SIP order. The student also claimed that they felt safe on campus after Campus Security helped them back to their living space and felt as though they were taken seriously.

Regardless of preconceived notions of the safety that Campus Security provides, all students should be aware of the emergency alert system, and follow all orders which come from said system. Campus Security takes precautionary steps, like the second lockdown, in order to protect students from any harm, and students should take these orders seriously and follow the policies in place.

Post Author: Alex Soeder