I want to share some additional information and insights regarding the incident that took place on September 23 that caused our campus to briefly go on lockdown.
By now, you are aware a shooting occurred about seven blocks away and the suspect fled toward campus, was apprehended, and taken into police custody. During the pursuit, the suspect briefly ran into the McDaniel University Student Center. According to police reports, the suspect was unarmed when he was on campus. Understandably, this event was upsetting for us all.
By the time Oklahoma City Police informed us about the possibility of a suspect fleeing onto our campus, we had 10 officers (from the OKC Police and our own OCU Police) on campus and the suspect was apprehended minutes after we were notified of the possible threat. In addition, we had a score of campus officials working on this matter as soon as we were advised.
The safety of our students, faculty and staff is my top priority. We have emergency training and protocols that go into effect immediately as situations like this develop. Last summer, 40 members of the OCU faculty and staff completed the Emergency Management Institute and FEMA Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Higher Education. We hired nationally certified emergency consultants to advise us on procedures. Ongoing readiness training is provided to our RAs on campus, as well as faculty and staff.
Although incidents such as this are extremely rare at OCU, we are committed to following the very best practices in crisis management.
I want to stress that the term “lockdown” should be taken very seriously by everyone on campus. When we don’t know the extent of danger of a potential matter, we have to react with our most serious response which is “lockdown.”
The most important action you can take today is to register your cell phone to receive emergency event notification text messages. We have made several requests for students, faculty and staff to take advantage of this feature. It is a simple, fast process that enables you to receive critical information about emergency events such as campus closures due to inclement weather, notification of threatening situations on or adjacent to campus, and warnings to take shelter or evacuate. I also encourage you to remind your family to register as well. To sign up, go to een.okcu.edu.
Please don’t hesitate to share your questions or comments with me, or our Office of Student Affairs.