QU hosts active shooter response student forum in wake of recent school shootings

Lily Philipczak, Staff Writer

Amid renewed concerns about gun violence on college campuses after the Michigan State University shooting in February 2022, the Student Government Association partnered with the Quinnipiac University Department of Public Safety to hold a conversation on the university’s active shooter response protocols on Wednesday, April 26. 

Tony Reyes, chief of public safety, gave a presentation and talked about safety procedures on campus as well as preventive measures that can be taken in the event of an active shooter situation. 

According to an FBI study of active shooter incidents, there were 333 active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2019. Of those incidents, 69% lasted a maximum of five minutes, and 60% ended before the police arrived. 

“That’s why we send the training and that’s why we want to give you the tools on how to respond,” Reyes said. “Five minutes is a very short amount of time.”

Quinnipiac sent out an email to all students on Feb. 16 to complete active shooter training just days after the shooting at Michigan State. Only 627 of the 8,055 students who received the training notification completed the 15 minute training — just under 8% of the student body.

“The presentation showed how comprehensive QU’s plans are in case of this tragedy happening on our campus,” SGA class of 2026 senator Alex Ramnarine wrotein a statement to the Chronicle. “It was cold comfort when Reyes did not address how porous our campus can be, stressing the need for a reactive, not proactive, approach to school shootings. “

Several students gave their reaction to the low number of participation in the online training. 

“I’m not surprised,” said Eldin Mrkulic, a sophomore marketing major. “I would say when it comes to surveys I think it is hard to get a mass number of students to respond.” 

In an email statement to the Chronicle, Reyes confirmed that university officials will conduct lockdown, evacuation and shelter-in-place drills during the fall semester. There are also discussions of mandatory active shooting for all incoming first-year students and there will be further information in the coming weeks. 

Faculty and staff received access to both a 14- and 45- minutes version of the training, Reyes wrote. More than 95% of faculty and staff completed the shorter training, which Reyes said was mandatory.

Students who attended the event voiced their concern for school safety after the most recent Michigan State University shooting. 

“Active shooter incidents, when they happen, are all over the news, and I see it everywhere,” said Victoria Ferguson, a sophomore psychology major. “I wondered what (procedures in place) my school had.”

After the presentation, students said they felt informed with the procedures in place. 

“I’ve been in two potential active shooter scenarios in the past in highschool,” Mrkulic said. “I thought that (active shooter safety) was something good to be aware about.” 

In light of the recent shooting at MSU, Ferguson shared advice for potential active shooter events. 

“Please take an extra minute or thirty seconds to actually assess where it is coming from. Because you could hear it’s coming from one way and it could be coming from the other way,” Ferguson said. “Just keep in mind you know where that sound is coming from and you run in a safe direction.”

Quinnipiac has made several efforts  to prevent and or reduce harm caused by an active shooter incident including the establishment of a mobile phone-based emergency messaging system RAVE.

Reyes urged students to download the RAVE Guardian app because that is how Public Safety would communicate during an emergency. 

RAVE Guardian is a mobile safety app that connects people directly to an organization or university by providing emergency assistance, two-way communications and resources.

On top of that, formalizing the threat assessment process through the formation of the Behavioral Assessment and Consultation Team, and partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement partners help with active shooter incident responses.

“They didn’t go into full detail of how Public Safety will come onto campus to protect students,” Mrkulic said. “But they gave us an overall consensus of what’s going on like an establishment of trust between students and faculty.”