By Ashlynn Worley
Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.
This has been the motto many schools and universities across the nation are taking seriously surrounding the increase in mass school shootings.
Quincy University has an emergency alert notification system. This is the only way the university can contact students in a crisis situation.
When activated, the system can quickly send out mass e-mails, text messages, and phone calls to notify everyone who opted in.
1,145 students call Quincy University their home away from home. However, a total of 206 students do not receive any emergency notifications. Of those students, 135 either ignored the e-mail or missed the deadline, while 71 students completely chose to opt out.
“Usually one of my friends already knows something I don’t, so I really have to rely on them instead of already opting in, which I should have now that I think about it,” freshman Chris Avery said.
The majority of students who chose to opt out of the alert system are freshman and seniors. The large portion of students who do not receive alerts are unaccounted for.
By choosing not to receive the emergency notifications, students like Avery are putting their safety in someone else’s hands.
Megan Jaboor, a sophomore nursing student, said she opted to receive all three forms of emergency alerts.
“Let’s say you’re in class and there’s an active shooter like what happened in Florida, then you will get that alert,” Jaboor said.
Many students feel safe, but unprepared, for a crisis situation on campus. For commuter students like Kristina Wolfe, the emergency alert system is beneficial.
“I think it is important as a commuter [to opt in]. If we have an active shooter obviously I’m not going to come to campus,” Wolfe said. “I feel like QU should have a rundown course or go through some drills so we know what to do.”
QU Director of Safety and Security Sam Lathrop urges students to remember three things: run, hide and fight.
“If we all attack in mass then we can prevail and you can survive a shooting, just because you’re hit doesn’t mean that you always die. At that point in time, you don’t have anything to lose, so if it’s me I’m going down swinging. Run, hide, fight in that order,” Lathrop said.
In the event of an active shooter on campus, students need to have a plan and know alternative routes to exit classrooms and buildings.
The professional staff at QU have been trained by Lathrop in several courses ranging from a tornado drill to an active shooter lockdown.
Donna Holtmeyer has worked as an academic success coach and certified counselor at QU for 10 years and counting. Holtmeyer said she feels safe on campus and in the community, but she encourages anyone who sees something, to say something.
“I think what is most important is that we take the time to just make sure we’re thinking about it [active shooter] because just putting our head in the sand and saying oh, it won’t happen to us, can’t be our response,” Holtmeyer said. “We need to continue to train our faculty and staff so that we’re heightened to those things, and even our students, just so we’re all aware.”
Professor Harry Cramer, a retired police officer, commends QU for having an emergency alert system set in place and said it is “absolutely essential.”
If you want to take control of your safety on campus or check to ensure you have opted-in to receive emergency notifications, consult the Dean of Students before it is too late.
“Of course you’re going to know how to run, hide, stay put, and fight back, but you don’t actually know what it’s like until you actually experience it,” Jaboor said.
QU Security, along with the criminal justice students, will be partnering with the Quincy Police Department in April to hold a campus-wide active shooter training course you will not want to miss.