The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Campuses respond to violence

Photo by Justin Rex — The Daily Toreador

Texas Tech students and community members gathered at a vigil at Memorial Circle on Oct. 10.  The vigil was held for the fallen Texas Tech Police Officer, Floyd East Jr.

Texas Tech University went on lockdown on Oct. 9, around 8:30 p.m. due to a shooting at the Texas Tech police station on campus. 

In the past year, two Texas universities have had events of campus violence occur, one being the stabbing on the University of Texas campus in the spring semester of 2017 and the other the recent shooting at the Texas Tech campus.

Mckenzi Morris, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Toreador, Texas Tech’s student newspaper, said the shooting that happened on campus was not the first occurrence. Morris said they also received reports of a shooting occurring at a different part of campus on 19th Street and Boston Ave. 

“We talked to Lubbock Police Department Public Information Officer and she let us know there was an active shooter on-campus and a shooting at Texas Tech Police Department but they did not want to confirm if the two were related yet,” Morris said.

Morris said she, Justin Rex and Michael Cantu, editors for The Daily Toreador, met at the central location where all news and media were directed to while they waited to hear more information for Texas Tech Police Department.

“Later that night, around 10 p.m., different law enforcement agencies, local and federal, came back and stated that the suspect who was believed to be the shooter was in police custody,” Morris said. “However, students were asked to stay where they were on campus and not come onto campus just yet.”

John Eason, associate sociology professor at Texas A&M, said with the recent violent occurrences around the country  the subject of how to prevent campus violence is more prevalent than ever. 

“We are in an era where this type of weaponized ignorance is perpetrated through our public discourse, because of this I am unsure that acts of campus violence will decrease,” Eason said.

The Campus Carry bill went into action on Texas A&M’s campus on Aug. 1, 2016.

“According to some people, campus carry should be making us feel safer, yet it hasn’t,” Eason said. “If professors do not feel safe on campus then that will reflect on the students’ sense of safety as well. If everyone does not feel safe, it makes the campus more tense and that is not good for a learning environment.”

According to the Texas A&M University 2017 Annual Security Report, zero reports of murder have occurred. However, 76 stalking cases, 15  domestic violence cases and 17 cases of dating violence were reported to have occurred in 2016 on A&M’s campus, the highest numbers from the past three years of reports.

While there are no crime reports of gun violence on A&M’s campus, a student did accidentally discharge a firearm on campus, according to Lieutenant Bobby Richardson of the University Police Department as reported previously in The Battalion.

The article stated that the owner was showing his firearm to his friend, both thinking it was unloaded. However, the gun was loaded and accidently discharged, according to Richardson. No one was hit or injured and property damage from the incidental bullet is unknown. No one was charged with a crime, but an incident report was filed through the UPD.

Texas A&M UPD Lieutenant Allan Baron said in a statement that awareness of basic safety procedure policies and utilization of Code Maroon are crucial in a situation where an act of violence occurs on campus. 

Baron said in the wake of other college campuses having attacks, UPD is constantly reviewing policies, procedures and practices to maintain a safe environment in the campus community.

“When students hear of an attack on campus, or any type of violence, individuals should move as far away from and or avoid the area,” Baron said. “If they are located in an area near the incident and cannot safely evacuate, take refuge in an area where they can block the entry and or lock the doors. If multiple people are in the room, spread out and silence all electronics devices.”

Baron said there are many facets of maintaining a safe environment at A&M. These include maintaining a police department that is well trained and equipped to provide appropriate responses and working to educate on crime prevention.

According to Baron, the recent events of attacks on college campuses have impacted everyone by bringing forth national awareness.

“These incidents not only create a heightened sense of awareness for the college community, but also remind us that college campuses are not immune from acts of violence and criminal activity,” Baron said.

Developing a new helpful attitude towards a community dealing with acts of violence on campus can make all the difference, Eason said.

“There are amazing values in being an Aggie,” Eason said. “The university has great core values and if we could share those even with people they consider unlike them and extend that kindness, it can only be met.”

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