OSU Reacts To Virginia Tech Shooting

Monday, April 16th 2007, 8:37 pm
By: News On 6

Universities across Oklahoma are reacting to the deadly shooting in Virginia. The University of Oklahoma put its dorms on 24-hour lock down; Oklahoma State University is also on a heightened alert. OSU's interim president says they're reviewing their policies in light of Monday’s tragedy. The News On 6’s Ashli Sims reports so far, Oklahoma State is not making any drastic security changes. Administrators say they already have a plan in place to deal with this kind of an emergency.

With studying students soaking up sunshine and dotting campus lawns, Oklahoma State University cuts a stark contrast with the chaotic scenes coming out of Virginia Tech. Despite the distance, the tragedy and the lingering security questions are being felt in Stillwater.

"Like everyone across the nation we were shocked and saddened by it,” said OSU Communications Director Gary Shutt. “It was a terrible, terrible tragedy and loss, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Virginia Tech and the families involved."

On campus at OSU security begins with campus police. And the force of 30 full-time officers is just a phone call away. Emergency phones are scattered throughout campus and connect callers instantly with police. Gary Shutt says officers have a plan and train for the unthinkable.

"The police work with the city and the county on incidents involving shootings, so they are constantly doing training to be prepared for that kind of situation."

College campuses are quite a security challenge. Even at OSU, you're talking about 21,000 people, 28,000 acres, and about 500 buildings. That makes a campus wide lock-down pretty daunting.

"If something happened in a town of 25,000 people how would you lockdown every store?” Shutt said. “So you would get the word out and take whatever steps need to be taken.”

Shutt says one of those steps is similar to what happened at Virginia Tech. A mass email would be sent out to help alert students and faculty.

“There are a number of things we would do to try to get the word out to notify people," he said.

It's an alert OSU administrators hope they never have to sound.

Campus security advises students to lock their dorm room doors, never prop open security doors, be aware of your surroundings and report suspicious activity to police.

If you have family or a professional connection with Virginia Tech, the News On 6 would like to hear from you. Please contact us at 918-732-6105 or email the News On 6.

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4/16/2007 Gunman Kills 32 At Virginia Tech Shooting Before Committing Suicide

4/16/2007 President Bush Says Shootings At Virginia Tech Affect All Students

4/16/2007 Questions Swiftly Raised On Effectiveness Of Virginia Tech Response To Shootings

4/16/2007 Heightened Security Planned At Local Universities

4/16/2007 Engineering Challenge Bonds TU and Virginia Tech Students