The Division of Public Safety at the University of Connecticut has reassured that the institution is adequately prepared to handle serious security threats and active violence predicaments.
“[The] safety of the university community is always our paramount concern,” said university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.
This reaffirmation came following confirmed reports that Delaware State University was placed on temporary lockdown, prompted by anonymous texts received by several students about a possible shooter on campus, according to Delaware Online.
The Daily Campus reported last week that a former UConn employee was arrested after making threats to shoot up her workplace in August. The person in question, Susan Tash, formerly of the Purchases Department, was placed on paid administrative leave, following her Aug. 8 arrest, after which she subsequently resigned on Aug. 22.
Despite the threat’s seriousness, due to collective bargaining rights Tash was put on paid leave.
“Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements are entitled to due process, which entails specific steps, including personnel investigation prior to any disciplinary action,” Reitz explained. “UConn uses paid administrative leave when the alleged misconduct is serious enough to warrant immediately removing the employee from the workplace, while the investigation is underway.”
UConn’s Division of Public Safety sought to assert that the university is prepared to handle similar situations. The office, which includes the UConn Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Office of Emergency Management and Emergency Communications, outlined its strategic approach to emergency preparedness at UConn.
“[The Office] works under a three-pronged approach to active violence prevention and response. Firstly, preventing acts of violence from occurring, then, stopping and/or mitigating the threat, should they occur, and finally, working to help the university community recover from this type of event,” Reitz explained.
The Division also informed that, in addition to assigned threat assessment teams, the UCPD has been providing active threat training to students, staff and faculty for years at Storrs and all other campuses statewide.
“The University is continually evaluating plans and protocols to ensure the best ways to prevent and respond to such incidents,” the office revealed.
Kyra Russell, a seventh-semester psychology major, expressed contrary concerns surrounding the Division of Public Safety’s assurance.
“Maybe when the students were brought in for orientation, bringing them to the reality that they’re in a new environment, and though it’s not something you want to accept, it happens, it’s in the news,” Russell said. “So, it would have been useful to provide the same training applied to weather drills and alcohol abuse drills.”
Nicholas Martin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com