Safety is Not Top Priority

By Nicholas Ingram

April 16, 2014

Last Tuesday at 3 p.m. a Griffon Alert was sent out to students advising everyone to shelter in place drill to simulate an active shooter on campus. Instructors were told to close their doors and turn off the lights in their classrooms, and anyone not in a class was advised to seek shelter where possible. The email sent out the day before to students said the drill would last no more than 30 minutes: however, after only four minutes the all clear was given. Did this “drill” actually make campus any safer or more prepared for an emergency? The easy answer no this drill proved absolutely nothing except that it was half-assed like a lot of other things on campus. Emergency beacons sounded, professor closed their doors and turned off the lights. We expected someone to come see if the doors were locked, but no one ever checked. After checking with students in Blum later in the day, most didn't even have time to know what to do before it was over. It’s strange that on the Missouri Western website the link for the university’s response for an active shooter is down. Compared to Northwest Missouri State and Missouri State University in which their responses are easily available yet our site gives an error message. We appreciate the effort the school is trying to put into being proactive especially after recent shootings across the country, but it’s not enough. It just could not have been thorough enough to know that everyone was where they should be and that staff and students didn't really learn a lesson from it. There seems to be a feeling of invincibility that Missouri Western is in St. Joseph where nothing happens so we can relax. This can be a dangerous mindset because after other university and school shootings, faculty and students shouldn't let their guard down and think nothing will ever happen. Of course we are not saying that we should have police officers in every classroom or necessarily have metal detectors at every door. However, to successfully prepare and handle an emergency situation students and staff should be better educated, take drills more seriously and make sure a plan is ready and available for all to study. Just as a suggestion to the school, maybe we could use a larger campus police department, but that will probably never happen because a big screen TV on the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex and enlarging the Cronkite Memorial are obviously more important.