Weaknesses, improvements identified in campus security report

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels talks in a forum about a security on campus on April 30, 2014.
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels talks in a forum about a security on campus on April 30, 2014.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s been three months since the deadly shooting at Purdue. Since then, hundreds of concerns and suggestions for improving campus security have been collected from the Purdue community. A recently released report identifies several weaknesses and possible improvements.

Immediately after the incident, the university started receiving emails, calls and letters about security on campus.

“There were over 500 emails when it was all said and done,” said Patty Hart, chair of the panel tasked with sifting through the concerns and suggestions.

A report that reflects the feedback was presented Wednesday at a president’s forum. President Mitch Daniels started off by noting that none of the recommendations in the report could have prevented the targeted shooting.

“A lot of good learning came that would or could make a big difference if we had a different sort of a crime committed in the future. To that extent, I think the campus community has tried to some good out of something awful,” said Daniels.

First, the report said more communication and training is needed on correct protocols for responding to a crisis. The report recommends automatically signing up all students, faculty, and staff for the text alert system. This would make them opt out if they don’t want it, rather than the current system which allows them to opt in. The university has created a new Twitter handle for emergency situations and is making improvements to its website.

The report also stresses training for faculty members in emergency situations, because there were some concerns that faculty members didn’t take the incident seriously.

“I think that it was important that this committee was faculty-led. We heard many, many reminders that you’ll see all through the report. That huge gain can come here, if the faculty memorize and act quickly on the protocols,” said Daniels.

The report also devotes several pages to the possibility of making more doors lock from the inside. But that could go against fire codes, and there are about 41,000 doors on campus some of which could take $500 or more to fix.

“You have to look at the cost and benefits of each action to see which ones to take first. Sometimes, you can get a lot of progress from an action that doesn’t cost a lot of money and it may change things for people,” said Daniels.

“There will be an implementation group or panel very soon and they will be charged with looking at our suggestions and I think they’re going to do that immediately,” said Hart.

Daniels concluded the forum by saying Purdue is a safe community, but there’s always room for improvement.

If you would like to read the full security report, click here.

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