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Ohio State students expected to prepare for campus threats

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

While there are drills for fires and extreme weather conditions, students don’t typically learn what to do in case of a shooting or bomb threat.
Students and instructors are expected to prepare themselves for threats that may face Ohio State’s campus.
Bob Armstrong, the university’s director of emergency management and fire prevention, said OSU has emergency response plans in place, but individuals must also prepare for these situations themselves.
“It’s up to every student, faculty and staff member on campus to develop their own plans,” Armstrong said.
The Ohio Union was evacuated April 16 after an unattended backpack was brought to the attention of OSU Police. The building was evacuated for about an hour and a half that evening, and the backpack was detonated, which is standard protocol and does not necessarily mean it contained an explosive device. The unattended package contained no explosives, according to a notice from OSU Media Relations.
On April 7, OSU sent out a safety notice concerning a threat geared at a “cafeteria” or unspecified area on campus. Police forces were increased on campus the following day investigating the claims that were made on a chat website. Four days earlier, University Police issued a notice for a similar concern.
OSU Deputy Police Chief Richard Morman said there was no new information about the investigation into the threats Tuesday, and was unavailable for comment Sunday evening.
A bombing took place at the Boston Marathon April 15, which led to three deaths and more than 180 injuries. One suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed and the other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured over the weekend.
Every building on campus is required to have a Building Emergency Action Plan, a template someone must fill out to outline the procedures in the case of an emergency.
Armstrong said all instructors are strongly encouraged to discuss emergency response plans with their students but said individual departments “can’t force the faculty to do anything.”
“It really is up to the faculty member or the instructor to have that discussion with the students prior to anything occurring,” Armstrong said.
Ashley Moss, a second-year in actuarial science, said some of her instructors have spoken about fire drills but no other types of emergencies.
Moss said she thinks the university should be in charge of emergency response plans, not the instructors.
“I don’t know if that is the greatest idea, ’cause I feel like different teachers would have different ideas of what to do, whereas one whole plan would just be better,” Moss said.
With the amount of buildings and classrooms on campus, Armstrong said it “is just not feasible” to create different emergency response plans for every single classroom.
“We have our own plans for responding, but we can’t tell you if someone is standing in front of you with a gun to do A, B, C and E,” Armstrong said. “We can’t tell you black and white this is what you have to do, these steps in this order.”
Alex Shapiro, a second-year in international studies specializing in security and intelligence, said he thinks students should be prepared to protect themselves.
“I have my own plan. When there were the bomb threats on the cafeteria, I stayed away from them, I stayed off campus,” Shapiro said. “I don’t think it’s really a great idea to be up to the teacher, it should really be up to the individual student.”
The Office of Student Life has a Risk and Emergency Management Office responsible for all Building Emergency Action Plans for all residence halls on campus.
Armstrong said it is important for all students to discuss emergency plans with their residence hall directors or resident advisers.
The Office of Administration and Planning also has online instructions and guidelines for students to see the recommended procedure in the case of different emergencies.

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