Events such as the one at Northern Illinois, serve as a reminder that none of us, as individuals or as a campus community, is immune from the possibility of a tragedy, but working together to keep Xavier students and employees safe is a top priority. Ironically, Xavier’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) had been planning for some time a training exercise on an “active shooter” scenario for Friday, February 15, the day after the NIU shootings. As part of this training exercise, campus police officers and 200 Cincinnati and Norwood police officers participated in an “active shooter” simulation on Xavier’s campus last December. Based on this simulation, the ERT went through all the response and recovery actions that need to happen if such an event would occur on our campus.
The ERT, made up of representatives from every division on campus, meets every other week to review our campus emergency plans. The team is continually looking at new ways to keep the campus safe, informed and operating during a crisis or emergency situation. In such a situation, communication is critical. During an emergency, the University will communicate to members of the campus community by voice and text messages via XU ALERT ME, through the Xavier portal and website, and through local media. If you have not signed up for XU ALERT ME, I encourage you to go to the campus portal to sign up.
In addition to XU ALERT ME, the ERT has recommended several other security measures that have or will be implemented this year. Campus emergency procedures were posted in every classroom; card access has been installed on the exterior doors of the five residence halls; and locks will be installed on classroom doors. During a crisis it is important for individuals to remain calm and to follow emergency procedures and the directions of emergency personnel. For information regarding campus emergency procedures go to www.xavier.edu/emergency.
I know that you will keep the entire Northern Illinois University community in your thoughts and prayers. May God bring them some sense of peace and comfort during this very sad and tragic time.
Michael J. Graham, S.J.