Purdue holds discussion on campus violence
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.
Students and staff at Purdue University are having a conversation about campus violence, just three months after a student was killed in a campus shooting.
Andrew Boldt was shot and killed in a classroom January 21. Purdue student Cody Cousins has been charged with the murder.
Now, students and instructors are discussing how to deal with violence on campus.
"What would I do if this happened and what do I tell my students to do? "asked Purdue grad student Alsu Gilmetdinova, talking about the need to be prepared.
"I remember getting under a desk and texting my parents that there may be shooter in my building," said Purdue student Molly Craig, once a victim of off-campus gun violence.
The campus urges students to watch the active shooter video on the campus website - how to hide and even fight back.
"I always point out the exits and tell my students they have to know what to do," said student support specialist Robert Mate.
"This is a stark reminder we all have to be vigilant," said Purdue University Police Chief John Cox.
Cox says that means "see something, say something" - report possible problems or tensions before there is violence. Purdue has reviewed its crisis procedures after the January shooting and staff told to check those procedures.
"I was shot before I even understood what the situation was," said Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
He told the small group of mostly non-students that states have to improve mental health check procedures before gun permits are issued. A tighter system might have caught his mentally ill shooter before he got a gun.
The Q&A quickly turned into a debate between gun rights and gun-control advocates. But there was no debate over the need for preparedness.
"To have your professor say, 'What do we do?' Aren't you supposed to know that?" Craig said, referring to the Purdue campus shooting.
Guns are not permitted anywhere on the Purdue campus. Two years ago, the Purdue Student Senate voted down a proposal to allow legal handguns on school property.