Being Prepared: Dordt’s response to Oikos University Shooting

Kelsey Sederstrom, Staff Writer

On April 2, Oikos University, in Oakland, California, suffered great tragedy as a gunman opened fire, killing seven people and injuring three more.  Lately, it seems that educational institutions are increasingly the targets of shootings.

Consequently, colleges are questioning their methods of security and wondering if they are at risk for such an attack as well.  If this happened at a Christian college, who is safe?  How can colleges be proactive?  The Christian Science Monitor addresses these questions in relation to the Oakland shooting.

The shooter, One Goh, was from South Korea.  He had difficulty adjusting to the language barrier, was a victim of bullying, and was expelled by the university for anger-management problems.  The university clearly had knowledge of Goh’s aggressive tendencies beforehand and should have exercised more proactive measures.

As this pattern of bullying, expulsion, and violence repeats across college campuses, other universities are noticing the need for proactivity and guidance counseling as well.

Proactive measures some universities are taking include threat assessment teams made up of administrators, law enforcement, public relations, computer services, and guidance counselors.  At times, these teams run training courses for students to teach them how to deal with an attack.

Dr. Bethany Schuttinga, Vice President of Student Services, is the  Coordinator for the Crisis Management Team at Dordt College. She agrees that proactive measures are important.  Dr. Schuttinga focuses on creating relationships with law enforcement agencies so that Dordt has ready assistance.

In the event of an aggressive situation, which could include a shooting at Dordt College, local law enforcement would be the first to respond.  Dordt College, like other colleges and universities across the nation, has an incorporated proactive awareness of individuals who may be in crisis and have motive to create a possible threat, according to Schuttinga.

“It is important for every institution to exercise several scenarios, to determine effective processes and protocol for responding to crisis on the campus,” says Dr. Schuttinga. She realizes that each situation is different but is confident that through training exercises, proactive threat assessment, and trusted relationships with capable local law enforcement, the risks are minimized for the campus.

While others might worry about campus security, Dordt students should have no fear, but rather, should be proactive.

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