Neglectful emergency protocol leaves KSU unprepared

By CAROLYN ADAMS

Kennesaw State University does not require faculty to have emergency training and very few professors take part in the optional training. In the event of a tornado, gunman, or other on-campus violence, most of the professors on campus do not have the training or the know-how to deal with the situation at hand.

The alleged gunman from Friday, April 25th, sparked several discussions regarding Kennesaw State’s security protocol. Many students and administrators alike have voiced their concerns regarding the seeming lack of preparation on the school’s front regarding Emergency Plans of Action.

Communication department Crisis Coordinator Lauren Booth said most KSU professors have little to no training in emergency plans of action. KSU does not require its faculty to have any emergency training, which demonstrates weakness concerning preparedness for these possible situations.

Lauren Booth poses with the Department of Communication sign outside of her office. Photo by Carolyn Adams.
Lauren Booth poses with the Department of Communication sign outside of her office. Photo by Carolyn Adams.

Booth, who is the longest acting crisis coordinator in the communications department, said, “ We [crisis coordinators] wish faculty sometimes took a little more initiative to prepare for this [emergencies].”

There are, on average, two crisis coordinators per department, usually consisting of administrators or other department officials. These coordinators receive training in the KSU emergency protocol for severe weather, gunmen, and even bomb threats on campus. Crisis coordinators on campus are considerably outnumbered by untrained faculty and students, and are often ignored and disrespected by both faculty and students during emergency situations.

In the event of a nighttime attack, the campus is completely vulnerable, according to Booth. Since crisis coordinators are mostly staff and work regular hours, there are seldom KSU employees on campus after hours with emergency training.

Booth said she believes that more accessible emergency preparation videos, like the ones used to train all crisis coordinators, would benefit KSU as an institution.

Booth said, “I was very vocal in our meeting … about not having enough support people to help with some situations … not having faculty know what to do.”

KSU is hesitant about posting detailed videos about protocol because in the event of a shooter, the perpetrator will “most likely be a student” and administrators do not wish to arm possible attackers with the information needed to elude KSU law enforcement. Despite not wishing to share too much with possible perpetrators, the emergency plans of action can be found online via the school’s website.

The plans have not been updated since July 2012, in spite of administrators calling for it to be amended. It is apparent that something must be done to better prepare the institution for these events.

Detective Campbell proudly     wears his KSU Police badge. Photo by Carolyn Adams.
Detective Campbell proudly
wears his KSU Police badge. Photo by Carolyn Adams.

Detective Al Campbell of the KSU Police claims that it is both KSU faculty and students’ responsibility to prepare for these possible violent situations. He believes that the KSU faculty relies solely on the alert systems and that more training would be beneficial under these circumstances.

Campbell says that safety is not the sole responsibility of the faculty and staff at KSU but that students need to be more proactive in their preparations for these possible events. Students and faculty should never belittle the chances of possible violence on campus, according to Campbell.

“There should never be a sense of that this will never happen,” Campbell states, “you should always prepare for something like that.”

Both Campbell and Booth agree that more training for both faculty and students is necessary to prepare for these possible situations. The alarming reality of possible violence on campus raises one serious question: In the event of a gunman or other violent act on campus, would you know what to do?

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