Stateside Podcast: How secure is the MSU campus?
In the weeks following the shooting at Michigan State University, a central question around campus security has emerged: What measures can schools and universities take to protect their communities when there is an active shooter?
Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Boucher has been looking into this. While students and staff at MSU did receive a message to secure in place during the February 13 shooting, he found that some people in campus buildings were not able to lock the doors of the rooms they were in. Boucher said that some rooms use key locks, which are inconvenient during an emergency, while others lacked locks altogether.
Lily Brueckman, a student at MSU, told Boucher she was in a classroom when the shooting happened. She said she and the others in the classroom were unable to lock the door.
“Students relied on taking off their belts and wrapping them around door handles and kind of pulling in what Lily described as like a tug of war system that was intended to keep people out,” said Boucher.
MSU also does not have real-time monitoring of security cameras, Boucher added, which made it difficult to figure out where the shooter was.
“That's one of the reasons why the shooter was apparently able to enter multiple buildings and then walk away from campus,” he explained.
In the wake of the shooting, MSU is now looking into security updates. Those include new locking mechanisms, real-time security monitoring, and upgraded software to enable remote locking of exterior doors. Boucher said MSU officials estimate making these upgrades would require doing around five years' worth of improvements in a matter of months.
It could cost $30 million. The university is looking to the state Legislature for financial support.
“We've heard from lawmakers in the aftermath of the MSU shooting … about gun legislation,” Boucher said. “It's worth noting that, in this specific instance, law enforcement says … the guns that were used in this case were purchased legally by the shooter. I have not heard as many questions about mandating specific security apparatus at [colleges and] universities, but I'm sure that those questions will come up in the days and weeks to come.”
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