QU adds mandatory active shooter training after Michigan State tragedy

Cat Murphy, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University students must complete mandatory active shooter training this semester amid renewed concerns about gun violence on college campuses, per a Feb. 16 email from Tony Reyes, chief of Public Safety.

University officials moved to mandate active shooter training for students following the on-campus shooting at Michigan State University that killed three students and critically injured five others on Feb. 13.

“As we have seen in the news, and just this week at Michigan State University, active shooter events are on the rise nationally,” Reyes wrote. “With this in mind, we are taking important steps to enhance preparedness by providing valuable training and resources to our community.”

Reyes noted in a statement to the Chronicle on Feb. 20 that the university has provided new students, faculty and staff with “Run, Hide, Fight” training for several years. The training teaches students to run if an active shooter is in their vicinity, hide if evacuation is not feasible and fight only as a last resort.

Peyton McKenzie

“The recent increase in active shooter incidents around the country prompted us to create a more individualized training module for our community,” Reyes wrote. “We made it mandatory because our community’s safety is a priority and we wanted to make sure everyone made it a priority as well.”

Students will have 60 days to complete the 15-minute active shooter training course once it is made available. The online training is designed to provide students with actionable strategies to employ “in case we ever have an active shooter situation,” Reyes wrote in the Feb. 16 email.

“Active shooter incidents are unpredictable and evolve quickly,” Reyes wrote. “Being prepared for what might happen is the best defense against any such incident.”

Although the training course has not yet been released to students as of Feb. 21, Reyes told the Chronicle that the training will provide students with situational awareness strategies and will “explain how to leverage these strategies during an active shooter situation.”

However, some students expressed frustration with the way Reyes announced the new training. The email notification students received led with the subject line “Active Shooter Training.”

“I think they should have put the word training first because we just saw the email that said active shooter,” said Julia Cabral, a first-year political science major. “Everyone in my class freaked out.”

Other students took to social media to voice their annoyance with the email.

“Today I received an email from my school saying ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING,” user @Sashazk2112 wrote in a Twitter post approximately an hour after Reyes notified students about the training. “Why in hell would you put the words active shooter in a subject of an email with no warning.”

Several students reacted to the email notification on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media platform that enables users to view posts within a five-mile radius of their location.

“The way my heart almost stopped when I saw the email that said ‘active shooter training,’” one user wrote on Feb. 16. “Put training first don’t mess with me like that.”

The Yik Yak post, which received more than a dozen upvotes on the platform, was one of several popular posts about the subject line of Reyes’ email.

“I’m crying right now,” the anonymous user wrote. “It’s not funny that they started with active shooter in the email.”

Reyes told the Chronicle that “there was never an intent to cause alarm.”

“I think the frustration over a title in an email demonstrates the impact of these incidents on our community,” Reyes wrote. “I believe this reaction is indicative that more training and more services are needed, as there are members of our community that are on edge and fearful.”

According to Reyes’ Feb. 16 email, the Department of Public Safety will also host a forum this semester “address any questions and concerns from our community.”

“What I’ve learned from more than two decades in policing, is that the greatest indicator of a community’s safety is not crime stats but rather how safe the community feels,” Reyes told the Chronicle. “We will engage with our community to determine how to best address the safety concerns on campus in light of the recent events.”

Reyes also wrote that the university will conduct “functional scenarios” this semester “to test our systems and improve our overall response to critical incidents.” 

Jack Weitsen, a junior political science and law in society double major, said he believed active shooter training is necessary amid renewed concerns about gun violence on college campuses but pointed out that this fact alone is cause for alarm.

“I think it’s sad in this day and age that we even have to do this,” Weitsen said. “Something else has to happen for Quinnipiac to want to actually do something about it.”