University develops emergency procedure posters to be put in classrooms, offices

Allison Harris

The campuswide lockdown during the Sept. 28 campus shooting raised questions for students, faculty and staff. The office of Campus Safety and Security responded by publishing a set of procedural definitions for lockdowns, weather and environmental emergencies online Tuesday.

The office began developing the new definitions on Sept. 29, the day after mathematics sophomore Colton Tooley fired shots with an AK-47 before taking his own life in the Perry-Castañeda Library, said Bob Harkins, the associate vice president of the office. The incident made it clear that many members of the campus community are unsure of how to respond when an emergency incident requires a lockdown or other procedure.

“If you are in classes and you get a text message telling you the campus is in lockdown, do you know what to do?” he asked. “Chances are, no.”

Harkins said a visible poster is essential for telling students what to do in a lockdown or weather emergency.

“In a bad emergency or something like that, I don’t have time to spell [emergency procedures] out to everybody,” he said.

Harkins said the office needs to finalize the size and design of the poster before implementing it in classrooms. The definitions will be part of a new Building Management and Restricted Access Plan after the department reviews the entire plan again and it is signed by President William Powers Jr.

UTPD officer William Pieper patrolled the campus on the corner of 21st Street and Speedway the day of the shooting. He said most people he saw understood what to do, but several people exited buildings, and officers had to direct them back inside. He said increased awareness of safety procedures for lockdowns would help police focus more on solving crime.

Computer sciences freshman Ashley McCrory was on campus during the Sept. 28 incident and praised the quick response of police and the effective text and e-mail communications. She said publicizing information could save lives during future lockdowns and weather emergencies.

Pre-public relations freshman Andrew McWaters said he would not have known what to do during the lockdown as an individual and does not know the procedure for sheltering.
“I don’t think anyone would read [the posters] unless an actual emergency was going on,” he said. “I think they should introduce that at freshman orientation.”