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Campus evacuation plan not made aware to students, staff

Staff Reporter

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 23:02

Morgan Mears | The Houstonian

Morgan Mears | The Houstonian

After recent events, the shooting that occurred at Lonestar North Harris community college and the terroristic phone calls that the Huntsville Memorial Hospital received regarding students at Sam Houston, many people are frightened and worried that SHSU has not notified its students of its evacuation plan.

Hardly any students know they can access the university’s evacuation plan online and others feel the plan itself is lacking in some areas.

English professor David Gaines, Ph.D, explained that he had seen the plan and knew that he was able to view it online. However, sophomore criminal justice major, Brandy McLaughlin stated that she was unaware that "SHSU even had a plan to begin with," and that she did not know that the plan could be accessed from the school’s website.

Sam Houston State University has not advertised its evacuation plan enough because too many students are unaware of its existence and where they could go to become educated on the plan.

After viewing the evacuation plan online, McLaughlin stated that she felt that the directions to some of the situations listed on the plan were unclear. One such plan that she found confusing were the steps that the plan list in case of a bomb threat. The plan itself explains that one is to first record down the conversation in which the threat is made and to then call 4-1000 for assistance, and to then meet and assist University Police personnel. When people are taught to first call 911 when an emergency arrives it causes confusion when they view the plan and see that the first step is to call 4-1000, the number for UPD on campus; it goes against everything that they have learned when it comes to what to do when facing danger.

The plan also includes printable evacuation diagrams of the Recreational Sports facility, the HKC and Johnson Coliseum. However, much of the typing on the printable diagrams is too tiny to read and it is illegible online as well. The plan does not account for the numerous other buildings that are located on campus. The plan assumes those that are in the buildings that are not listed are able to follow the few rules about hiding or exiting the building.

The plan needs to have bigger, easily readable diagrams and it needs to explain why students and staff should call the University Police before calling the Huntsville Police Department. Students need to be made aware that this plan exists and is available to them on a daily basis; professors could tell their students about the plan and how it works on the first day of class when they are discussing the syllabus, especially after tragedy has struck so close to home.

 

--To view the procedures, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~hrd_www/risk_management/docs/flipchartemergencyprocedures.pdf. Send us some feedback on what you think of SHSU’s evacuation plan.

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