UWL Faculty Not Required to Train for School Shootings

Karley Betzler, Staff Reporter

As of March 7, there have been 52 mass shootings this year in the United States (massshootingtracker.org). University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Office of Residence life recently sent out an email concerning the shooting at Central Michigan University. This email stated that students safety is important, their full-time staff are trained in Active Shooter Training and more about how they keep students safe. However, the faculty who interact with students most, their professors, are not required to participate in Active Shooter Training.  

UWL’s Chief of Police Scott McCullough stated that, “Although the University does not mandate this type of training…” they provide active shooter response training only when it’s requested. McCullough did not provide a response as to why active shooter response trainer is not mandatory for professors.   

When asked if professor’s having no active shooter response training affected student’s safety, UWL’s Director of Residence Life Jacque Bollinger stated she couldn’t comment on student’s safety. Bollinger then added, “it is the responsibility of our students to become informed and be aware of resources on how they can also help themselves.”  

UWL’s Provost and Vice Chancellor Betsy Morgan again confirmed that, “There is no mandated training”. Morgan commented, “The research on safety indicates that confusion is reduced in an actual situation if there has been some practice.” Morgan went on to say, “So, I think that all faculty and staff should think about how they should act if a situation were to occur.”  

Morgan stated that, “an active shooter phenomena, despite how horrific they are, thankfully, they are still relatively rare and we should be more or equally concerned about fires or tornadoes.” 

The rarity Morgan proposes for these events could be decreasing, though. Citizens Crime Commision of New York City conducted a study in October of 2016 which found that shootings on or near college campuses are increasing. The authors of this study wrote, “It is imperative that lawmakers, policymakers, college administrators, law enforcement and others begin to have a serious dialogue and enact meaningful reforms to address this epidemic and make America’s colleges safe again.”  

The authors from CCNWY also noted that, “Based on current trends, the problem is likely to become much graver over the next decade”. 

Bollinger added to the conversation that, “many of the staff in Student Affairs, including the Professional Staff in the Department of Residence Life have participated in [Alert,  Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate] Training offered through UWL Police.”  

This training is known as A.L.I.C.E. and it is, according to McCullough, “taught not only by police but by trained civilians.” McCullough added for the past two years, University Police have, “hosted the A.L.I.C.E. train the trainer class during the winter break and have sponsored people from Human Resources, Residence Life, and Student Affairs.”  

McCullough explained the reason behind doing this as, “The thought is that people accept or learn better if it is not only a police officer talking but a co-worker or peer from around campus.” Bollinger noted, “The Rec Center staff, the Union staff, the Student Life Office and the Child Care center staff are all trained” in A.L.I.C.E..  

Looking ahead, McCullough stated that, “We encourage everyone to at least think about what to do, say something if they see something, and finally reach out if they want to attend a class.”