By Victoria Uribe
Pulse Staff Reporter
As gun violence on college campuses hits an all-time high, students, faculty and campus police throughout the United States make plans for worst-case scenarios that they hope to never use.
In early October of this year, Christopher Harper-Mercer rampaged through Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, killing eight students, one teacher and injuring nine others. The devastating event added to the pre-existing fear many colleges throughout the United States already possessed.
“It’s terrible…why would someone want to do that?” said Cecilia Olmos, sophomore Art major at Palo Alto College.
This year’s mass shootings add up to 355 separate incidents from Jan. 1 though Dec. 2. Twenty-three of these shootings occurred on college campuses.
Infographic by the Washington Post
“It’s the world we live in,” said Corporal Maria Salazar, Department of Public Safety Campus Coordinator at PAC. Salazar works with campus security to inform faculty, staff and students of all forms of danger that can occur on campus.
All PAC faculty and staff are required to view an Active Shooter video or attend Active Shooter Training to be aware of what procedures must be followed, according to Salazar.
“For the faculty and staff, some departments request that I do it in person,” she said. “We can answer questions because there’s a lot of scenarios that go through their head.”
As for students, the same information is presented to them during their Student Development class, which is a single course required of all Alamo Colleges students.
Here, professors educate students on PAC’s Active Shooter policies and procedures. Since this course is a one-time class, some students remain a little shaky on the procedure.
“I don’t think I would react well,” said Caroline DeLaGarza, freshman Computer Programming major at PAC. “I have massive anxiety with tense situations and I would probably just freeze in place.”
Salazar urges students to always have a plan while remaining vigilant and aware of all exits, no matter where you are. “Be aware, be alert,” she said.
When involved in a present Active Shooter situation, students are encouraged to dial 9-1-1 and exit the building immediately, if possible. If not, Salazar recommends finding an enclosed classroom or closet and barricading the doors until police authorize a release.
While Active Shooting trainings are complete for this semester, Salazar said she plans to implement about 25 in-class Active Shooter presentations next semester to educate incoming freshman and current students.
In the meantime, Alamo Colleges students can remain prepared with downloadable PDF’s on www.alamo.edu under the Emergency Information tab that can be accessed at any time.
Here, all students may find procedures and tips regarding emergencies, such as tornados, bomb threats and active shooter situations.
It is also important that students keep their contact information updated in case of emergencies. This can be completed by logging onto ACES, selecting Web Services and then selecting Personal Information.
“Our main priority is safety for faculty, staff and our community,” said Salazar. “If anything makes you feel uncomfortable, report it to us…I’d rather it be nothing than something we could have prevented.”
For more information, PAC’s Police Department is located in the Facilities Building across from Sabine Hall, and they may also be contacted through their non-emergency number at (210) 485-0099.