Students speak out about professors' response to active threat

11 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 1:40:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in Top Stories
By: Adam Duxter, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Students were speaking out in frustration Thursday about how professors handled Wednesday's active threat on the MU campus. 

MU Alert first announced the active threat at 11:23 a.m. Wednesday afternoon, while many students were in class. 

Some students said they quickly realized their professors were not adequately trained on how to respond.

"Somebody noticed that the doors don't lock in our classroom, and that's when my professor said 'I'm going to be honest, I don't know what to do here,'" said Nina Cavender, an MU senior. 

Cavender, like many MU students, only had a vague understanding of the events transpiring on campus. When she found out her professor was not certain, she said, it made her more afraid. 

"It was very scary to hear her say that. As a future educator myself, I think it's important that we all know the procedure," she said. 

She said her professor eventually decided not to do anything. 

"Our professor said that since class was almost over, we should stay and wait. People stayed, but you could tell people were rearing to go. Nobody wanted to be there," Cavender said.

Current events only made the situation more scary, she said.

"Based on what's happened in the news lately, all I felt was kind of like, 'is this going to be another statistic?'" she said. 

Other students, like sophomore Makenzie Bagley, felt frustrated at their teacher's lack of preparation. 

Bagley, who works for the department of student life at MU, has gone through active threat training before.

According to MU spokesman Christian Basi, active threat training is not currently mandatory for faculty. 

"We are reviewing how we can better market that. We are trying to get people more aware of the opportunities for that training. It's out there at the click of the button," Basi said.   

Bagley said it's sad that she, as a 19-year-old student, knows more about it than some professors.

"Our professor at first stopped for a few minutes to check where the threat was. Once he saw the threat was a few blocks away, he decided to disregard everything and continue lecturing," she said.

Bagley said her training has taught her it's never smart to ignore a threat. She said her professor eventually ended class early, not because of the threat, but because students were distracted.

"Our professor was actually frustrated with us that we weren't paying attention to the lecture. He said we would finish the lecture tomorrow because no one was going to pay attention anyways," she said. 

Vice Chancellor of Operations Gary L. Ward said in an email that operations will be expanding its emergency mass notification system to allow parents and others to sign up for MU Alert text messages and emails. In addition, anyone can immediately text the message "Follow MUalert" to 40404 to receive texts of MU Alert Twitter messages without having a Twitter account, according to the email. 

Operations will meet with members of various campus groups in the weeks and months ahead in order to develop a policy on handling class attendance during emergency situations, gather additional feedback to determine what other actions might be necessary, and plan a course of action on conducting additional training. 

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