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Scared versus Secure

How should we feel following the Umpqua shooting?

By Bridget Berg, Activist Staff
On October 14, 2015

CNN covered the shooting at Umpqua Community College. Should UCBA students be worried?

Many know about the recent shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College. The tragedy left many questions, particularly surrounding the issue of security and safety procedures at community colleges. Are smaller campuses taking necessary precautions like bigger campuses seem to be? If they are, how are they doing so?

Most would say that in certain situations, community colleges get the “lower end of the stick” compared to bigger universities. The smaller colleges are the first to get drastic budget cuts and only have a certain amount of supplies they can work with. With that being said, security may not be as well equipped.

Blue Ash’s procedures for shootings are printed out, laminated, and placed by the door inside of every classroom. The security office can be located in Muntz 134, but if the door is locked they request you to make a phone call in order to receive any assistance. There is also the ease of walking into campus with any kind of weapon due to the lack of metal detectors, and security, or any other type of potential preventers. When you look at it, UCBA can seem like an ideal target. However, bigger colleges don’t have an answer on how to solve this either. Yes, they may have the better means to, but shootings are cases where you can receive multiple recommendations on how to get out alive regardless of how big the campus is. It’s almost as if the question has no true answer, and we should be equally concerned about both large and small campuses.

Maybe the problem is what colleges are being told to do. For example, some articles and websites give you the “fight, run, or hide policy.” When the opportunity presents itself, your three options are to attack the shooter, run out of the building, or find a safe place to hide. All three have pros and cons. Attacking can seem like a successful maneuver, if there are multiple people willing to assist, and even then the suspect more than likely has a gun. The other issue with that is there can be more than one shooter and they may spread out; that already becomes more problematic. The choice to run out of the building seems like the option everyone hopes to have, but that can obviously be tricky. Finding a safe place is probably the decision a lot of people make, and it can be just as difficult as the others considering that there isn’t a lot of hiding places within a classroom or enough for everyone. 

The fact that Blue Ash may not have a 100% guarantee lock down system, like a lot of other colleges, doesn’t mean that you should live in fear every day, or use it as an excuse to not attend. Instead, you should choose to be smart in the sense of being aware of your surroundings, letting staff and faculty know if you see any suspicious behavior, and you should stay calm and level headed. Statistics show that school shootings have actually decreased but seem more prevalent because of the mass media coverage it receives. That is hard to believe, but the proof is in the facts. I know for me, that’s comforting.

In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t always an answer on how to prevent situations like this entirely, but we do know that all colleges are doing their best. It’s also important to take note that shootings are different every time because of the people involved and the circumstances. We can say that community colleges may have a harder time due to budgets, but bigger universities feel the struggle, too. You as a student can help UCBA improve its security and safety by advocating for some changes. We have the power to work as a community and keep one another safe and to ensure that we can save as many lives as possible. Safety in numbers is the best route to take along with being educated in understanding that this is a worst case scenario and doesn’t happen as much as the hype says it does. Be smart, be safe, and take advantage of the fact that we are a tight-net community.

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