In Wake of Campus Shootings, UWSP Emphasizes Active Shooter Policy
In this Oct. 9, 2015 file, Michael Johnson wears a firearm as he waits outside of Roseburg Municipal Airport for President Barack Obama's arrival in Roseburg, Ore. Voters in a southern Oregon county will weigh in next month on a measure that seeks to prohibit enforcement of gun laws, although it may have only symbolic effect. Courtesy of AP Photo, Ryan Kang

In Wake of Campus Shootings, UWSP Emphasizes Active Shooter Policy

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.

 

Matthew Wiltzius

Reporter

matthew.wiltzius@uwsp.edu

 

 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.”

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3 comments

  1. jeremiah kaminski

    There are numerous other aspects to take into consideration regarding this amendment to the current law. Firstly, the picture showing Open carry of a firearm is not the issue here. It is concealed carry. The reason a picture of concealed carry doesn’t work for any newspaper is, it’s concealed-nobody knows it’s there. Secondly, this amendment does not change WHO can carry a concealed weapon, but merely change where. That means students under 21 STILL CANNOT legally CCW. Students who may be intoxicated STILL CANNOT CCW. Students who haven’t received their CCW permit STILL CANNOT carry their CCW inside campus buildings. Thirdly, the law CURRENTLY allows CCW on campus, just not inside campus buildings. That means there are already concealed weapons on and around campus. Yet there are no instances of law abiding students permitted to carry acting irresponsible or dangerously with a weapon. I’d ask that critics please explain how this amendment would change those law abiding students to somehow becoming a danger/menace once allowed to carry inside campus buildings. Next, the argument that people who CCW inside classrooms would somehow create a hostile learning/work environment is unfounded. Do students/faculty/citizens of the community go to the grocery store cowering in fear? Do they walk on eggshells downtown because they are intimidated by the possibility of a law abiding legally CCW person harassing them? No. Doesn’t happen. What would cause this to suddenly occur in classrooms/UW buildings? Also, look at the state of Utah. CCW is not restricted inside State universities and they have had no negative results. Lastly, please watch the spree killer response videos on the UWSP website and note how many times they tell you if your last resort is to fight back, use any means necessary (improvised weapons) to overtake the killer. “They” tell you to use weapons to fight back and defend yourself BUT, don’t you dare carry a concealed weapon for which you’d be legally permitted to carry inside our buildings. And note how “They” admit they cannot always be there to save you the instant a spree killer begins targeting students.
    Thank you for reading, Jeremiah Kaminski

  2. You’re right to “feel safe” does not trump my right actually be safe. People with a concealed carry permit are 7x less likely to commit a crime than a police officer. The only way you’re going to stop a gunman is with a gun. Let me carry the gun in licensed to carry. http://concealednation.org/2015/07/report-1-in-20-adults-have-a-concealed-carry-permit-in-the-us-and-theyre-extremely-law-abiding/

  3. Dr. Plonsky, Psychology Dept.

    I have a concealed carry license and would like to carry while at the university. I believe it would enable me to be in a better situation to protect my students and myself if there was an active shooter on campus. Thus, I am hoping the concealed carry laws will be revised.

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