The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Arizona shooting prompts SMU response

Officials propose ‘threat of violence’ procedures on campus

Violence on campus is a frightening possibility for students and, SMU Police Chief Graves says, a realistic one. Graves said at least two incidences of violence resulting in fatalities occur yearly on college campuses in the United States. Nearly a month ago, three people were shot to death in a classroom at the University of Arizona moments before the gunman took his own life in front of the students.

So, just how safe are we?

SMU has made clear its policy on tornadoes, fire hazards and traffic laws, but how equipped is the university for an act of violence, particularly a shooting incident like the infamous Columbine murders? Graves believes the best way to tackle the threat of violence is to focus on prevention. This, he feels, is the key to our safety.

“Our officers are trained, and the law enforcement is in place,” Graves said. He added that SMU has close ties with the surrounding emergency teams in University Park.

“Depending on the specific threat, we would contact other agencies to assist us,”he said.

Currently there is no formal policy at SMU outlining a procedural response to the threat of violence. However, Anita Ingram from the risk management office said a policy on workplace violence is currently being drafted by the SMU Police Department and is waiting for approval from the President’s Executive Council. If approved, the plan will be added to the university policy manual.

“It’s important to point out that the policy is not incident-specific,” Ingram said. “It is more general and encompassing in nature.”

Although the new policy cannot possibly list every kind of threat, Ingram said it clearly outlines the university’s position against violence on campus.

Graves said there would be a significant difference in the role the SMU Police Department would play in such an emergency situation compared to the university’s approach.

“We would handle it as a crime scene,” Graves said. “The university would respond to it as a crisis.”

Regardless, it would still be a combined effort. The SMU Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies would respond to the actual crime, whereas the university would work to stabilize the community and focus on the psychological impact of a campus-wide tragedy.

Graves said the best form of risk management is to be prepared before something happens.

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