Colleges wrestle with safety concerns after U.Va. shooting

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Safety on every college campus is always a top priority, but even more so after three University of Virginia students were shot and killed on Sunday.

Though there is always a fear that something could go wrong, some East Carolina University students say they feel fairly safe on campus, as the ECU Police Department has been proactive in providing safety resources for students, faculty, and staff members.

As students made their way to classes Monday, safety was on their minds.

Cameron Mason, a junior, says the university has done things to help students out, “But some part of me also still has the thought in the back of my mind… I don’t want to be out here by myself at some point, especially at night.”

ECU Police Captain Chris Sutton says the university works to stay prepared.

“We have training annually, active shooter training, and then we also have training that’s offered to our students, faculty, and staff called ‘Run, Hide, and Fight,’” Sutton shares.

Along with training offered for all students, faculty, and staff, there are other safety features like a downloadable app called ‘Live Safe.’

“It gives you instant connectivity to our police department,” Sutton says. You can text them, you can send pictures, videos, and place calls from it.”

Along with ‘Live Safe,’ there are also blue light phone emergency stations placed all throughout campus in the event of an emergency.

“It automatically goes to our 911 dispatcher here on campus,” Sutton said. “The blue light that’s on top starts to flash and a lot of these have cameras on top of them where the dispatcher can actually see who is operating and using the blue light phone,” Sutton told WITN.

For ECU Freshman Angie Alcantar, the safety resources the university provides mattered the most in choosing to attend ECU.

“This is a big reason why I chose ECU, at orientation they talked a lot about how the purple polls here are a simple press the button and they’re automatically there, and then with my co-ed classes, they’ve done safety meetings so I’m pretty comfortable here,” Alcantar said. “I feel safe.”

The ECU Police Department also encourages the community to never ignore a gut feeling, always expect the unexpected, and never hesitate to call 911 or its department, as they are committed to doing what they can to ensure the safety of all ECU community members.

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