SHAB holds active shooter panel at first meeting of semester

Published by , Author: Hannah Shumsky - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 22, 2018

The Student Health Advisory Board (SHAB) held its first meeting of the semester on Feb. 20 with a panel discussion on active shooters.

The topic was selected after SHAB members post-meeting surveys. In the latest survey, a panel on active shooters was the most requested topic for more information.

This meeting’s panelists were Dan Brown, director of housing, Paul Novak, interim executive director of planning and environmental health and safety emergency management administrator, Kris Benkeser, director of student health services, and Lt. Sharkey, university police.

The panel opened with information about the complexity of how someone responds to an emergency and active shooter drills at SRU.

“We cannot write a plan for every single scenario that will ever happen, and that’s why those buzz words of think, run, hide, fight or whatever words you use as the basics,” Brown said. “It might be different if you’re in a parking lot versus in a building, so those are scenarios you need to think through,” Brown said.

Discussion points mentioned included increasing training for students. According to submitted surveys after the panel, there was support for training more students, especially freshmen as part of FYRST Seminar or Week of Welcome (WOW).

“I don’t think anyone here would say that reading a manual on how to drive a car qualifies you to get a license, right? No, you have to do what? Practice,” Benkeser said.

One attendee of the panel asked about informing students who may be triggered by an active shooting drill. While all students will be notifying of drills, the question arose as to what resources those who have been in active shooter situations previously can access.

“Do what you feel is right. If you feel there is a potential for this to have a negative impact, then perhaps maybe you don’t want to be on campus,” Novak said.

Carly Thorne, chair of SHAB, said that students can call campus police at 724-738-3333 in an immediate emergency, go to the health center in less serious circumstances or complete a care referral in non-emergency circumstances.

Novak also said that an active shooter drill will take place in April, although the date is yet to be determined. Compared to last year’s drill, this drill will include one academic building and have increased on-campus response. Novak also mentioned that Lisa Hamp, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, will present on-campus safety and emergency preparedness on March 21 at 7:45 p.m. in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

SHAB’s next meeting will take place on April 10 during common hour in Weisenfluh 103, and the focus will be body image and eating disorders.

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Hannah is a senior secondary English education major and communication minor entering her third year on The Rocket staff and her second year as editor-in-chief. Previously, she served as assistant news editor and covered Student Government Association affairs. After graduation, she hopes to teach English, communications and journalism to high school students. Hannah has won numerous awards for her writing and design work with The Rocket and was named SRU's Student Leader of the Year in 2020. Outside of The Rocket, Hannah is also part of WSRU-TV, Sigma Tau Delta and the Honors College.


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