Heightened Security Planned At Local Universities

Monday, April 16th 2007, 4:05 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Residence halls at the University of Oklahoma will be locked 24 hours a day for the rest of the semester after a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University that left at least 33 people dead, university officials said Monday.

The Virginia Tech shootings took place in a dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus.

OU President David Boren announced the changes in a statement.

The main doors at residence halls and doorways to each hallway already are locked every evening, requiring either a student identification card or room key for access.

The campus police force at OU also conducts joint SWAT team operations with the Norman Police Department to prepare for emergency situations, Boren said.

Oklahoma State University spokeswoman Carrie Hulsey-Greene said the university plans no immediate security changes, but police are on heightened alert and all security and emergency policies will be reviewed. The Stillwater university's dormitories are locked at night, but not during the day.

"The security of this campus and safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors is always a top priority," OSU interim President Marlene Strathe said in a statement.

Strathe said the university has plans and procedures in place to respond to any emergency situation and that OSU's leadership team met Monday to evaluate those security procedures.

University of Central Oklahoma spokesman Charlie Johnson said his school also is reviewing security. The women's dormitory at the Edmond school is locked all the time, but other dorms are locked only at night.

Boren also sent a message Monday to Virginia Tech University President Charles W. Steger, expressing sympathy to the university community in Blacksburg, Va.

"You and the families of those who have been killed and injured will be in the thoughts and prayers of all of us," Boren wrote.

The University of Tulsa narrowly avoided a shooting on Aug. 29 when a 60-year-old man who had been fired from a university job tried to kill his former boss on the campus. Tulsa police said at the time that the pistol Richard Keith Hall intended to use failed to fire.

Hall was tackled by school employees, who held him down until police arrived. He had come to the campus with two guns and had a ski mask in his pocket.

University spokesman David Hamby declined to comment Monday about the August incident, but said TU places emphasis on security planning and protocols. He said university faculty and staff "are trained to be watchful and report suspicious activity to the authorities immediately."

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.

Related stories:

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 Engineering Challenge Bonds TU and Virginia Tech Students

4/16/2007 OSU Reacts To Monday’s Shooting In Virginia