A University employee walking through the Chemistry Building on early Monday morning reported that she saw a man pointing a gun at her. She walked away and returned a few minutes later, and the man was gone. Whenever an incident occurs on campus that involves a potentially armed person, the University’s Department of Public Safety has a responsibility to immediately inform students of the situation using the emergency alert system. Some students instantly received text messages or phone calls from DPS, but many students weren’t informed of the event until the next day. DPS needs to ensure that there is a unified emergency response to all students when a dangerous situation occurs.

According to an April 4 Daily article, DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown chose not to send a crime alert via e-mail because police were nearing an “all clear” of the situation. However, at 1 a.m. on Monday, an emergency alert was sent via text message. Another text message alert was sent at 1:25 a.m. that informed recipients the situation was “all clear.” Students who had previously signed up for the text messaging service were alerted of the potential danger, but students who were not had no idea. A mass e-mail was finally sent at 10:30 a.m. on Monday that notified all students of the recent events.

It’s troubling that only some students were informed of a dangerous situation as it was occurring while others received a notification more than nine hours later. All students should have been informed immediately. Whenever a gun may be involved, regardless of the severity of the situation, DPS should inform every University student.

Brown should not have chose to hold off on informing the student body of the alleged gunman until the next morning. Even if the emergency was contained and the situation was nearing an “all clear,” students have a right to know when a dangerous event is occurring on campus. Since the reported gunman was never found, it was a very real possibility that he was still somewhere on campus after the “all clear” was given.

Brown said in the article that police “didn’t have solid enough information at midnight to warrant activating the emergency alert,” primarily because the witness of the crime wasn’t certain if the gun was real. Whether or not the employee saw an actual gun, DPS should have sent a precautionary alert to all students. Their intent to not cause a panic is understandable, but an alert that makes students aware of the scenario and notes that it is not an emergency situation would have been prudent.

It’s not uncommon for students to walk around campus at midnight — the time when the incident occurred. Students need to know about situations like this in order to take extra precautions and be extremely aware of their surroundings. Regardless of how well DPS felt the situation was contained, it had a responsibility to inform the student body of the potentially serious situation.

Students always need to be aware of their surroundings late at night, and even more so if there is a possible crime. Fortunately, no one was hurt as a result of Monday’s incident, but DPS’s failure to properly alert the entire student body was disappointing.

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