After a brief scare that a possibly armed suspect was in a University building Wednesday morning, students and staff are reacting and evaluating the University’s emergency alert procedure.

University officials concluded that the purported “man with a gun” initially reported via e-mail was a Navy ROTC student returning “non-weaponized equipment” to the program’s offices in the Chemistry Building Wednesday morning.

This information was revealed nearly three hours after an emergency alert announced reports of a potential gunman at 8:55 a.m.

Students were advised to “take shelter, lock doors, quiet phones” at the time of the alert. Eleven minutes later, they were notified again, this time simply that the situation had been “resolved.”

University Police said “many officers, police and security” were sent to the scene, though there was ultimately “no threat” to campus, nor was any neutralization required to settle the situation.

An update on the Division of Public Safety and Security website elaborated that University Police “received a call around 8:40 a.m. from a subject who stated he had observed two men wearing flak jackets and carrying equipment, including an assault rifle, entering the building.”

A police search of the building revealed that the perceived threat was actually “consistent with the ROTC program activities.”

University Police Chief Robert Neumann said that though he doesn’t have specifics, “it is not unheard of to get a call regarding an ROTC student carrying one of these training items.”

In a statement, the University’s NROTC unit apologized for the incident and said it resulted from a break of standard operating procedures and subsequent misunderstanding.

“One midshipman was in possession of a rubberized, non-firing training weapon,” the statement read. “We understand the implications and optics of armed persons appearing on college campuses and the serious concern and response caused … The midshipman should not have attempted to transport this equipment through campus while on foot, out of uniform and formation.”

The statement also said the unit would “implement procedures to ensure this mistake does not recur.” In addition, Commander Scott Howell, executive officer of the University’s NROTC unit, said in an interview that in a typical situation, training weapons are transported in a less conspicuous manner, which would avoid alarming students.

Howell said if NROTC students or officers are not in uniform and in formation while holding the training weapons, the students are either in a van or holding the weapon in bags or cases around campus.

Kinesiology sophomore Victoria Norris was in a lecture in one of the Chemistry Building’s auditoriums when the first alert went out. She said a student sitting in the front of the class stood up and showed the professor the message, at which point, she said, “everyone started kind of panicking.”

The students ultimately worked together to turn off the lights, shut down the projector, silence their phones and shelter themselves under desks and between seats, she said.

Norris added that the students neither saw nor heard anything suspicious, and some hadn’t even received the emergency alert in the first place. She received hers solely via e-mail, even though she is signed up to receive text warnings.

“We had absolutely no idea,” she said. “And actually, a lot of people didn’t get the alert until minutes after it had already happened. I didn’t get the alert until about 10 minutes after they had already cleared it.

“It was probably the scariest thing that ever happened to me,” Norris added.

Norris wasn’t the only student to receive delayed warnings, an issue that Neumann said “depends a lot on the technologies involved.”

Inclement weather, service providers and other related intermediary systems were cited as potential reasons for scattered message receipt times, something that Neumann said University Police are constantly working to improve.

Some students, including Norris, said the e-mail alerts were significantly more delayed than the texts. University Police said e-mail is not expected to be the primary mechanism for emergency messaging as it is not the fastest way to reach students. Regardless, University Police said the hope is that sending the messages over a variety of media will reach a large area of the campus community.

“We’re always trying to get the best technology to help us make those mass notifications,” Neumann said. “We continue to evaluate each emergency alert to try and find ways to make it better. In this case, we would say the system worked.”

LSA sophomore Eldar Hoessel, an office assistant in the Housing Information Office, agreed that the system worked. The office is stationed in the Student Activities Building and went into lockdown after Hoessel’s boss received the notification about a potential gunman.

“It was kind of shocking, because no one really expects that (to happen),” Hoessel said. “I thought it was a good effort. I felt pretty safe, just because I think that the timing of everything (was good) in case it was actually a real emergency.”

Though the notification system appears to have been effective, Norris was concerned by the content of the alert informing the campus community once the situation was resolved.

“It was never clear as to what actually happened,” she said.

Though the information became available on the DPS website, Norris felt that a text follow-up would have been beneficial.

“If we got that text right away, I would say 99 percent of students are going to have their phones on them, so it’s going to be the quickest way to communicate with the student body,” she said.

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