In the wake of mass shootings throughout the country as well as certain college campuses, Brown and Martel Colleges’ recent initiative to provide active shooter training their for cabinet and college members should serve as a model for the rest of the Rice community. Events like the shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, show that although the chance of experiencing a mass shooting may be low, preparedness is necessary not only to save lives but also to prevent a breakdown into chaos.
The most logical time for uniform training is during Orientation Week. While physical drills might be logistically impractical for O-Week and potentially upsetting to new students, some basic exposure to shooter safety protocol alongside other presentations should be mandatory. Rice University Police Department can coordinate with O-Week leaders to provide informational videos and training similar to what was recently offered to some students. In addition, chief justices at residential colleges should have unified talking points to clarify on-campus safety standards, ensuring that each new student receives similar information.
Furthermore, extensive training, including physical self defense components, should be broadly available throughout the year for interested students. Exposure to basic safety topics on active shooter scenarios is important at the beginning of the year and should be followed up with publicized opportunities for further, highly-recommended trainings. Within student leadership, such as at residential colleges, active shooter training should be mandatory.
Ideally, every student will undergo active shooter training. The best time to conduct such training is during O-Week, but we understand concerns about overwhelming students with excessive training on a sensitive issue, in addition to logistical problems with providing one-on-one combat practice. Thus, we suggest a middle-of-the-line solution, wherein RUPD provides an introduction during O-Week, supplemented with further opportunities for all students throughout the year.
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