This story first appeared in the April 2018 edition of The Hilltop.
For years, the university has been recognized as one of the safest in Oregon, partly because Corban has never experienced a shooting or life-threatening event.
But are we immune? Are we ready?
With recent and consistent school shootings throughout the country, “We can’t be prepared enough,” Mike Roth, director of Campus Safety, said.
According to the Corban Emergency Guide – which can be found at inside.corban.edu under “Campus Safety” – students should take certain steps if they receive a warning of an active shooter on campus.
Running is the first defense.
“Run from the area if possible,” Roth said. “If that is not an option, hide from the shooter. Take shelter inside a building, closing and locking doors and windows, turning off lights, closing blinds and curtains and staying away from windows. Silence your cell phone and call or text 911 for help. If you are not able to stay hidden, improvise a weapon with whatever is around you to fight back.”
In dorms, propping doors open is not allowed, as it could give way for dangerous persons to barricade themselves inside a building.
It’s unfortunate that most people must experience a fearful moment themselves before they feel the need to prepare for it, Roth said. “Students should read the emergency guide we’ve put together but remember it’s general,” he said.
“When you give somebody else responsibility for your safety, you’re less safe. We’ve made resources available to help start the conversation, but safety is everybody’s individual responsibility.”
Roth recommends that students think through their schedules and make their own plans, asking themselves specific questions: What am I going to do if an earthquake strikes while I’m driving? What am I going to do if my dorm room is on fire? What am I going to do if I get an alert about an active shooter while I’m walking outside?, among other scenarios.
Specifically, with the threat of an active shooter, it is critical that students know to speak to Campus Safety, even if just to report any negative feeling about an individual, Roth said. In many cases of shootings, some individuals were suspicious of a person who posed a threat, but didn’t feel comfortable reporting.
As the saying goes, “Better safe than sorry,” Roth said. “And we keep information as discreet as possible.”
Roth has been trained through a nationally recognized and sought-after threat-assessment program started and practiced by the Salem-Keizer school district. In other words, he has access to tools to identify a dangerous person. Students are encouraged to go to him if suspicious of any warning signs. “Trust your instincts,” he said.
While the majority of Oregon higher education campuses restrict the carrying of firearms on their campuses, even by officers, Corban is different. “We are armed and will respond to active threats,” Roth confirmed.
Erica Glavnik, Campus Safety supervisor, warns students trusting social media posts from other students in the situation of a shooter.
“When an incident is actively occurring, don’t get caught up in the reaction of others online,” she said. “Often in the cases of emergencies, a lot of wrong information is spread. Trust Campus Safety or official resources like updates from the police.”
While the Corban emergency text messaging alerts are currently part of an opt-in system – with only half of the students receiving these alerts – the system will change this fall to an opt-out system. All students will receive emergency alerts unless they choose to unsubscribe.
The available emergency guide also references what students should do in case of a fire, bomb threat, flood or other situations. TV monitors throughout campus will also provide information in an emergency.