BY KELSEY WAGNER
There have been 93 mass shootings in the U.S. since the beginning of 2023. Enshrined in the Second Amendment, guns have always been ingrained in American culture and politics; however, as firearms have advanced, policy has lagged behind, leading to disastrous results that affect the safety of college campuses throughout the nation.
Recent incidents of gun violence at the University of Virginia, Temple University and Michigan State University have highlighted the vulnerability of college campuses.
These incidents, and the increasing prevalence of gun violence in schools and on college campuses, have left us horrified.
Recent shootings have provoked reflection among The Review’s staff members, and we determined that the University of Delaware is painfully lacking in infrastructure to protect members of the community from gun violence.
Following the violence that occurred at the University of Virginia, President Dennis Assanis sent an email to students, expressing his concern and advertising UD’s resources should there be an active shooter situation.
“These acts of violence are particularly troubling to all of us who learn, work or live on a college campus,” Assanis wrote. “I know that everyone here at the University of Delaware shares in the shock and grief felt by those affected by these tragedies, and our hearts go out to them and their communities.”
Assanis reminded students about the safety information that the UD Police Department (UDPD) provides to encourage preparedness for an “active shooter situation or similar emergency.”
On Feb. 14, following the shooting at Michigan State, Assanis sent out another email, once again highlighting the resources that the UDPD provides. He also pointed out a number of specific resources such as the UD Alert system, the LiveSafe app and a video from the UDPD website on “surviving an active shooter situation.”
Although we commend Assanis’ quick response to the situation and acknowledgement of the threat that guns pose to university communities, We hope to see more action from the administration to prevent similar situations from happening at the university.
UDPD alone cannot protect all 23,613 students currently enrolled at the university, and the other resources that Assanis outlined are rudimentary. Not all students have or even know about the LiveSafe app. The UD Alert system, while effective at dispersing information quickly, would only cause pandemonium if it is the only resource used to communicate information should there be an active shooter situation (see, for example, students gathered around the Green during the situation with the dangerous chemical compound when a UD Alert specifically told them to avoid the area). Students should be trained ahead of time on how to handle such a situation rather than having to rely on a UD Alert as it is happening.
Currently, we feel that there is a lack of training and preparedness, along with a feeling of uncertainty regarding building security, which leaves us fearful about how a situation with gun violence on campus would be addressed.
Overall, the university could better communicate to students the protocols regarding active shooters. Several students at The Review have never seen the video that Assanis referenced. Further, LiveSafe and the UD Alert system alone cannot provide adequate information and cannot help prepare students for an active shooter situation before it happens. In addition to these resources, students, faculty and staff need to be trained regularly (at least once per year) to make sure campus can effectively deal with an active shooter situation. A brief talk about gun safety in a freshman seminar class simply isn’t enough.
Further, building security is lacking. Anyone has access to classroom buildings, and anyone can be let into the residence halls at any time. There is no way to make sure that guns stay away from campus buildings. We recommend that community members be required to scan their university IDs to gain access to classroom buildings. Residence halls should also have measures to monitor non-residents gaining entry to the building.
In a perfect world, we would not even have to discuss the threat guns pose to universities; however, gun violence is a pertinent problem in our schools and universities that we must deal with as effectively as we can. The looming threat of a school shooting is a burden our generation is forced to carry, but we cannot forget that it is one that we can change.
Our hearts go out to students across the country affected by gun violence. Instead of simply alleging support for institutions impacted by gun violence, we hope that the University of Delaware will step up and lead the way to safer campuses.
The Review’s editorials are written to reflect the majority opinion of The Review’s staff. This week’s editorial was written by Kelsey Wagner, development officer. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.