It has been a challenging couple of weeks, with little time to rest.
In the wake of the tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College, our community has been under siege from threats of violence against students. Recently with a gun threat against Ashland High School, then a bomb threat against Rogue Community College, and of course the anonymous threats of violence against SOU.
Last Wednesday, Oct. 7, SOU’s main campus in Ashland was shut down due to an anonymous threat against the school. A news release from SOU’s Head of Community and Media Relations, Ryan Brown, reported that an unidentified threat was made against the University. Administration then decided the threat was serious enough to close down campus and cancel all classes. Classes were promptly reopened the next day.
Director of Campus Public Safety, Frederick Creek, said, “the final call to close down the University came from the President (Roy Saigo).”
An anonymous student claims that the threat took the form of a note found in the women’s restroom of the Education and Psychology, and threatened a bombing and a shooting spree. This claim could not be confirmed as both APD and CPS declined to comment.
Numerous rumors surround the contents of the threat, and thus far APD is unable to release specific details concerning the threat or the progress of the investigation. Deputy Chief, Warren Hensman, explains that at this stage of the investigation it is necessary to be vague when it comes to releasing information to the public. He continues saying if investigators are not careful it may compromise the investigation as well as a potential trial.
“Currently my detective division is running with the case and (forensics gathered at the site of the threat) is being analyzed at the Oregon State Crime Lab,” Officer Heinsman said.
According to a University press release, the administration is not fearful of any imminent danger, however Creek does stress the importance of preparing the community. “We have to be prepared,” he said “the concern I have is…you can’t be prepared for every circumstance. If you look at the history of active shooting throughout the nation they are all different.”
Creek did not say this to make students fearful, but to motivate them. He stresses that the best way to prepare for a potential threat is through community reporting and training. “I’ve brought in programs through the University that are critical to attend, to get the basics of survival and preparing for a survival mindset,” Creek said.
One of these programs is the active shooter training sessions SOU is offering over the next several weeks. The sessions will educate participants on what to do if an active shooter is on campus, and how to prevent a potential shooting. The location and times of the sessions are listed below:
Wednesday, Oct. 14, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in the Arena in the bottom floor of Stevenson Union
Thursday, Oct. 15, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in the Rogue River Room in the Stevenson Union
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in the Rogue River Room in the Stevenson Union
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in the Rogue River Room in the Stevenson Union
Additionally SOU already has programs in place to prevent an on campus shooting such as SOU Cares, a program that encourages the local community to report any safety concerns. A list of potential concerns is provided in the link above.
Creek and Officer Hensman both praised the collaborative effort between the Administration, APD and SOU. Creek described the collaboration as “tremendous.” Saying “(APD) gave us everything we asked for.”
It has indeed been a challenging couple of weeks for Oregonians. President Roy Saigo acknowledged the difficulties we have all faced. Praising the communities rise to the occasion saying:
“People, you have literally not stopped to rest since this began. Words cannot adequately express how proud I am of you. I’m writing to say thank you. We are showing the world what we are made of, and we are showing our students how to be resilient and strong in the face of adversity…We are Raiders. We are strong. We are RESILIENT.”