After a mass shooting at an Umpqua Community College in Oregon led to 10 deaths and other college massacres, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is trying to raise awareness for its active shooter policy.
The policy provides students with advice on how to best ensure their own safety in the event of an active shooter.
According to Bill Rowe, director of protective services and parking, one of the policy’s biggest assets is its ability to quickly inform students of an incident.
“I think it’s very important because it contains the messaging system in which we would use in the event of a catastrophic incident on campus, whether it be active shooter or some hazardous material release,” he said. “Any sort of large scale incident on campus would be messaged the same way.”
According to the the UW-Stevens Point risk management website, there are four ways the university informs students of an active shooter: email, text, computer pop-ups and verbal notification through fire alarm speakers.
The shooting also prompted Wisconsin legislators to consider revising current concealed carry laws as they pertain to public universities and colleges.
A bill proposed by Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, and Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Ootsburg, would prevent universities and colleges from banning concealed weapons in campus buildings if passed.
Currently, the UW System forbids the carrying of firearms in all campus buildings, including residence halls. Those with permits can still carry outside of buildings.
Jeremiah Kaminski, junior and president of the UW-Stevens Point chapter of Wisconsin Students for Concealed Carry, thinks the legislation is a good thing.
“The proposed legislation would allow students to defend themselves in university buildings by a means that we feel comfortable with,” he said.
Kaminski said allowing students to carry firearms in campus buildings could help make universities safer. Currently, students going to class have to leave any weapons they might have in their cars, opening up the possibility of theft.
Rowe said campuses are generally already safe, especially at UW-Stevens Point.
“If you compare our statistics against like-sized municipalities, you’ll find that statistically we are a very, very, very safe place to live and reside,” he said. “I’m not sure adding additional weapons on campus is going to make it any safer.”
Students appear split on the issue.
Alex Coombes, sophomore studying wildlife ecology, said the legislation could have a positive impact.
“I would say it could prevent school shootings, potentially,” he said.
Josh Battle, an undeclared freshman, offered a different opinion.
“It would be a bad idea simply because it’s a firearm in a public area, and people could get carried away,” he said.
What other students say
Nathan Hansen, sophomore communication major
“It’s a bad idea. It has a lot more potential for problems.”
Robert Van Boogart, junior elementary education major
“I don’t have a strong opinion either way.”
Erich Mueller, freshman wildlife ecology major
“I don’t have that much of an opinion.”
Rodel Magtanong, sophomore computer information systems major
“To me, its not something I would be opposed to as long as nothing happens with it.”