Poshard: SIUC prepared for disaster

By Gus Bode

When a gunman went on a shooting rampage killing at least 32 people and himself on the Virginia Tech campus early Monday, security on college campuses nationwide was brought into question.

SIU President Glenn Poshard called a meeting with interim Chancellor John Dunn and SIUC Chief of Police Todd Sigler Monday afternoon to discuss security in the event of a similar disaster.

The gunman, whose name and information were not released late Monday, wielded two handguns with multiple clips of ammunition and first struck students in a high-rise dormitory. He opened fire in a classroom building about two hours later before putting a bullet in his own head.

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Poshard said the two-hour delay in making Virginia Tech students aware of the shooting wouldn’t happen at SIUC because of emergency radios installed across campus.

In the event of a severe emergency, the message would be transmitted to every floor of every building, he said.

“Within a matter of seconds after we are notified, there will be one dispatcher that will put out that warning across the entire campus,” he said.

A dispatcher would give instructions to stay in the building or leave and there would be designated people to lead everybody, Poshard said.

Although the emergency radios would help in an emergency, it is important that people report suspicious behavior, he said.

“Obviously, this person that killed these young people had been giving off signals for some time,” Poshard said. “Apparently, it did not get communicated to the right people on campus.”

SIUC Chief of Police Todd Sigler encouraged people to report strange occurrences, even if it is based on an unsure feeling.

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“We would rather have people report suspicious behavior and have it be unfounded than to have an individual forgo reporting because they don’t feel it’s important enough,” he said.

Katie Arduini, a sophomore from Peoria studying food and nutrition, said the Virginia Tech shootings worried her as a college student who occupies a dorm, where some of the Virginia Tech shootings occurred.

“It’s pretty scary, the fact that it’s any college that it can happen at,” she said.

Arduini, a Mae Smith resident, said she feels safer staying in the SIUC dorms because of increased security.

After spring break, Brush Towers began requiring 24-hour sign-in as a security measure. All students must swipe their IDs at the front desks at Mae Smith and Schneider to enter at all times of the day.

“I think the security is a lot better than what it was last semester,” she said. “By checking our IDs they protect us very well.”

Johnathan Sloat, an undecided freshman from Glenview, said he also feels safe living in Brush Towers, but Thompson Point needs more security.

“In Thompson Point I’d be more worried because I lived there and I know from experience that if you don’t have your keys, you can just knock and someone will let you in,” he said.

Sloat said the SIUC campus is safe overall, but there is no way to tell when or where a massacre could occur.

“It could really happen anywhere,” he said. “They probably thought it was pretty safe there, too.”

[email protected] 536-3311 ext. 266

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