By: CHRISTINA CLARK
The national attention has been fixed on guns in schools since the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February, in Parkland, Florida. That conversation is happening at IU South Bend as well, prompting multiple responses and actions lately on campus.
“IU South Bend is a safe campus,” said Ken Baierl, director of communications and marketing at IU South Bend. “There are very few crimes here. Part of the reason for that is our students, faculty, staff and police officers are informed and responsible people who work together to keep the campus as safe as possible.”
On February 10, the Daily Titan email newsletter included a notice for a session on February 20 and February 23 on what to do in active shooter situations. The section about the event invited faculty, staff and students to listen to IU South Bend Police Officer Ed Garcia walk through the IU emergency guidelines, show IU’s “Run. Hide. Fight.” video and answer questions. The notice was sent out again two days after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
The South Bend Tribune published an opinion piece written by IU South Bend’s Chancellor Terry Allison entitled “Viewpoint: Act on guns, or fail another generation” on March 3. In it, Allison published what he deemed his “wish list” of things that he thinks could make a real impact in the future on mass school killings.
In the piece, Allison asked for gun owners to be trained and pass competency tests regularly, hold separate licenses for each weapon, have their licenses questioned or revoked if the holder has a history of domestic violence or severe mental illness, and that automatic weapons be stored in a training facility unless required under national emergency.
His emphasis was control without violating the Second Amendment.
“In the United States, guns can be owned, licensed and regulated, greatly reducing the danger of mass shootings,” Allison wrote. “A great majority of our citizens want this, and we have the right and the responsibility to protect ourselves from the inherent danger of weapons.”
On March 11, the Daily Titan distributed Indiana University’s “Run. Hide. Fight.” video, as a communication of the Active Shooter-Aggressor emergency procedure. The video includes clips of other IU campuses before showing a re-enactment of an active shooter situation on the Bloomington campus. The video walks through the steps one should take should they find themselves in an active shooter situation, such as getting out of range of the threat, hiding if you cannot run, and fighting as a last resort to apprehend the aggressor.
The video may be found, along with other information about what to do in an active shooter-aggressor situation at protect.iu.edu. Along with the other general safety protocols on campus.
The suspect in the Stoneman Douglas shooting, Nikolas Cruz, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 attempted murders. There were 17 killed and 17 wounded in the attack. Since then, the students have kept the conversation alive with rallies, organizing walkouts, speaking to journalists and politicians to find a solution to the problem of school shootings.
As for the IU South Bend campus, Baierl said that safety is at the forefront for students, faculty and staff.
“The IU South Bend police officers undergo training regularly to respond to different situations,” said Baierl. “They are well-trained and as prepared as possible to respond. They remain visible on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods.”