University is confident in security for fall semester

Security measures resemble last year, students encouraged to reach out

Written By Hayley Keys, Co-News Editor

According to the “Gun Violence Archive,” there have been over 200 reported mass shootings in the U.S. in 2019. Some have occurred in educational establishments, prompting several students to question if their school is equipped to handle situations of that nature.

“Our police officers and dispatchers are trained to respond to any act of violence, one being an event such as an active shooter,” Deputy Police Chief Nicholas Black said. “We train monthly and maintain a proactive approach for any means of domestic terrorism.”

During the fall semester, Point Park’s police force will meet with freshmen students to explain security on campus as well as walk the students through ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate).

“I felt very well informed,” junior Makahla Wiler said. “They went over all the security details, which is nice, and I didn’t get that at my last college.”

The ALICE program is used to ensure the safety of students and faculty during the event of an active shooter on campus.

“If there was ever to be a shooting on campus, our police officers are trained,” Dean of Student Life Michael Gieseke said. “They have worked…to ensure that our police officers have worked with the city’s police officers, so there is a familiarity.”

Gieseke works closely with Black and the other officers to help maintain a high level of safety of campus.

“Our goals will be to continue to maintain a safe environment for the students, faculty and staff,” Black said. “We want to continue to target our areas of vulnerability with police presence and visual deterrents.”

These precautionary measures are not a new concept however, and the security plan is nearly identical to what it was during the spring semester.

“As of right now, I don’t believe we are doing anything less than we did last year, and I am not aware of us adding another layer,” Gieseke said.

This includes the desk attendant hours, which were reduced last year.

“In order to guarantee that nobody gets past the front door area who does not belong there, every single student would have to scan in every time,” Gieseke said. “There is a cost to that, as you can imagine.”

The price tag has prevented heightened security, but Black was confident with the choice that was made just last year.

“Nothing has changed with our desk attendants,” Black said. “They will maintain the same schedule.”

Wiler, like some students, is concerned about the cut of desk attendant hours.

“They should have someone at the desk at all times in Lawrence and Academic [Halls] for everyone’s safety,” Wiler said.

But even though it worries her, she still has confidence in the campus police. 

“Whenever you call them or need help with something, they will answer and be there immediately,” Wiler said.

Ultimately, the security team at Point Park is ready for the upcoming school year and will work with the students to ensure a safe semester. 

“We have to make sure that we are providing our students, our faculty and our staff with the most appropriate and secure environment,” Gieseke said.

If a student feels unsafe or wishes to ask for help, both Gieseke and Black encourage them to reach out. 

“We want students to reach out to us, contact our dispatch center, stop and speak with an officer and utilize the ‘Point Park Police Tip App’,” Black said.