After the shootings, there was much criticism of the way the administration alerted those on campus about the danger. A mass e-mail was sent out, but it was not an effective way to prevent more deaths as the horrific events unfolded.
Becky Watts, deputy to MSU President Randy Dunn, said there were several encouraging steps the university was taking to help deal with an emergency on campus. She said the school recently received a grant to install National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radios in every residential college, or dormitory. In the event of severe weather, resident assistants would alert everyone in the dorm and they go through the proper procedure, such as getting away from all windows during a tornado.
Watts said that the university’s public safety employees have a pass code that authorizes them to send out a warning over the NOAA radios in case of an emergency unrelated to weather, such as, say, a gunman on the loose. These radios are currently being installed in every dorm, Watts said. The radios are part of a statewide grant from the Kentucky Department of Emergency Management. Watts said the university had received 10 radios, each worth about $800.
Watts said the university applied for a grant that could fund what she called a “reverse 911 system.” This would allow the people in public safety to send out a call to every landline on campus, which would have the same recorded warning message if answered. Although Watts said she had been told that costs vary, her staff has said that a basic system can cost approximately $50,000. She added, though, that Calloway County has also applied for a reverse 911 system. If they were to receive the grant, the county system could be used by any 911 dispatch, which would include MSU’s public safety dispatch, she said.
Learn about student safety at MSU in The Cadiz Record.