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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Oregon campus shooting hits home

A shooting that occurred at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Thursday, Oct. 1, hit close to home for Western as it nears the one-year anniversary of Marysville Pilchuck shooting that took place Oct. 24, 2014.

The shooting at Umpqua left 10 dead including the shooter and multiple wounded, with the gunman demanding students state their religion before he opened fire, according to MSN News.

Students and staff at Western said they have felt the effects of the shooting.

Communications professor Steve Woods said these situations are ones people don’t expect to happen on campus.

“I feel sadness for everyone involved but also disappointment that this kind of thing can continue to happen,” Woods said.

Western has a video called “Three Rules for Surviving an Active Shooter: Run. Hide. Fight”, available at Western’s Safety and Emergency Information at www.wwu.edu/emergency/.

The video goes into detail about the steps one should take in an emergency situation with an active shooter.

Run: Try to escape or evacuate, remember you are most important, not your stuff. Getting yourself out of harm’s way is your first priority. Call 911.

Hide: If you can’t leave, hide in a safe room or closet or try to block yourself with a large object. Remain quiet and calm and silence your cell phone.

Fight: As a last resort if your life is at risk, improvise weapons to disarm the shooter. Commit to your actions, be aware of your environment and always have an exit plan. Events like these are unpredictable and victims are usually chosen at random.

Junior Brie Cleveland said she thinks it’s crazy that shootings are still happening across campuses and scary to think it could happen here too.

Cleveland said she wouldn’t know what to do if a shooting were to happen on Western’s campus and thinks it’s important that students are informed about these types of situations.

“I’ve never heard from a professor about what we should do, or received an email from the school that stated what would happen,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland is not alone in her concern.

“I have no idea,” senior Adam Shaw said when asked what he would do if he were in a situation with a gunman.

It’s important that all students, faculty and staff be familiar with how to respond to a situation of violence, Communications and Marketing Director Paul Cocke said in an email.

“Acts of violence can be very unpredictable,” Cocke said. “The best we can do is plan, prepare and be ready to respond to the best of our abilities.”

The Western Alert system put in place on campus is one of the ways to reach students, faculty and staff with important information in case of campus violence and other imminent threats to safety or health, Cocke said.

The alert includes text messages to phones to everyone who registers and emails to students and staff.

Our thoughts and prayers go out the family and friends of the victims of this horrific tragedy at Umpqua, Cocke said.

*Editor’s Note: The original article misstated the number of casualties. 

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