By Nicole Curcio
What is the emergency procedure if there is an active shooter on this campus? “I feel like I should know but I don’t. I know they send out a mass text, but that’s about it. Junior dance major Gabrielle Amico reflected on the local news reports on a girl found in the woods behind a residence hall in spring 2016. “We spotted helicopters as my friend’s mom called and asked what was going on at Post from a report
on the [television] news. We were wondering the same thing.” Amico said that she and her peers did not receive any information until over an hour after the news report. When the office of Public Safety did issue a report, it simply stated that everything was fine and Post had nothing to do with it. However, students were nonetheless aware that police were on campus. On March 17, Newsday reported that the “27-year-old woman was found on Thursday, March 17, 2016, by LIU Post security guards.”
In the event of a real emergency on campus, some students like Amico do not feel they are “in the loop” of happenings on campus, providing an uneasy atmosphere. To prevent students from feeling this way, the office of Public Safety has created a new procedure, “Run-Hide-Fight,” for members of LIU Post. The procedure was distributed to each department at the start of the spring semester and is found on the “Safety Tips” link on the public safety website, along with an “Active Shooter Handbook.” Aside from the website, students are not aware that these procedures are available anywhere else on campus. “I don’t know the procedure, I haven’t seen any alerts on the walls,” senior criminal justice major, Kyle Ward said.
“Run-Hide-Fight” was designed, “not in response to something happening, just to keep the campus safe,” Dr. John Lutz, English professor and chair of the faculty council, said. Lutz said that faculty expressed interest in learning more about campus procedures during an emergency, which led to a meeting for faculty on Feb. 1 in Hillwood Commons. At the meeting, Paul Rapess, director of public safety, discussed the new procedure, which was put in place in an effort to keep up to date with happenings.
“The emphasis is on prevention,” Lutz said. “We want to prevent an incident.” Lutz added that creating procedures comes in layers. Though prevention is ideal, students should follow the recommended steps listed on the “Run-Hide-Fight” document, if necessary. To Lutz’s knowledge, students are informed of procedures at freshman orientation, but he was unsure of any other communication methods. Rapess did not respond to the Pioneer’s inquires, stating that he was unavailable to speak with the Pioneer due to weather conditions.
“No one has spoken to me about what to do,” Ward said. “I believe I would be informed if I asked the RAs in my building. I think the school should have floor meetings about [the procedures] as they do other topics.”
For students who feel unsafe or unsure about what to do, “there is an action plan in place coordinated with the police,” Lutz said. “There are protocols in place.” For more information on what to do in an emergency situation, visit http://liu.edu/ cwpost/Public-safety and review the “Safety Tips” section.