Sunday, April 2, 2023

VIDEO: How Safe is Ole Miss in Case of Emergency?

Ole Miss students congregate in various places around campus, including the Student Union.
Ole Miss students congregate in various places around campus, including the Student Union.

Like most college campuses, Ole Miss is a relatively safe place. However, in the aftermath of a shooting at Florida State University on Nov. 20, students and Ole Miss officials are thinking about the protections in place on the Oxford campus.
The FSU campus in Tallahassee, Florida, went under lockdown two weeks ago, as police say Myron May started firing a gun at the campus’ Strozier Library. The university notified the hundreds of students occupying the library during FSU’s finals week with bulletins about the threat to university safety. In response, students moved to areas within the library, barricading doors to prevent further violence. Police defused the attack, killing May, who wounded three people.
Ole Miss sophomore, Chanlor Hohensee, who spends many late nights studying in the J.D. Williams Library, says she has a hard time imagining many students would know how to react in a similar situation.
“I’m not prepared and I don’t think most people are,” she said while reading sitting atop a platform outside the library in the Quandrangle area known to attract large groups of students. “You go through orientation and they talk about how safe this campus is, but there is no lecture on what to do if something were to happen like that.”
University of Mississippi Director of Public Relations Danny Blanton says students do have resources in place to find out how to respond in the event that danger arises. He emphasizes the utility of the Emergency Information page on the Ole Miss website, which prominently features an in-depth video starring University Police Department officers explaining what they call “active shooter” protocol.
Along with the video, the website lists procedures for numerous emergency scenarios such as severe weather, natural disasters, pandemics and acts of terrorism.
The website promises up-to-date information streams in the case of an emergency, providing the “current status” of campus safety and stating “Should an emergency occur in the future, information specific to it will be posted here.”
Blanton says students can do their part to improve campus safety by taking proactive measures before violence occurs.
“The way students can get involved, again, is just by being aware, paying attention to their surroundings,” he says. “If they know somebody who is acting peculiar, who may be under a significant amount of stress, help them get the care that they need.”
Reports have surfaced showing that the FSU shooter, Myron May, led a troubled existence in the months before the shooting. The University of Mississippi Counseling Center offers 24/7 crisis intervention services in addition to group and individual therapy sessions. Visit the website for more information about tools to maintain a safe campus community.
Ole Miss journalism student Jared Boyd contributed this story.