Local colleges assessing security and safety measures

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A deadly shooting on the University of Norht Carolina Charlotte campus is prompting renewed calls for tougher campus security.

“We are constantly looking at what’s available to, as best practices,” said ETSU Emergency Management Specialist Andrew Worley, “on how we can be as safe as possible.”

Campus activities carried on as normal Wednesday at the campus of ETSU, but Worley said they’re prepared should any emergency situation arise.

Security at ETSU goes beyond a 24-hour dispatch center on campus and state-certified officers providing protection on the property.

“We have many layers to our emergency alert system,” said Worley.

Those layers include, emergency phones, siren systems and text and email alerts that students can voluntarily sign up for. 

Worley says about 30,000 people, including students, faculty and staff, have signed up for the alerts. 

“We have a very high percentage of folks who automatically take that step to enroll in our system,” he said. 

For those students and staff who don’t elect to receive emergency alert notifications, there are other ways to be made aware of the alerts.

“We do broadcast this information in various ways,” said Worley, “whether on social media, we put this information on our ETSU website.”

“I think people are more aware of the need to pay attention to these kinds of things and really to be prepared,” said Brent Nipper, Milligan College Director of Property and Risk Management, who also oversees campus security.

At Milligan College, the university has a similar voluntary alert system and resources.

They also have campus officers and can receive back up if needed.

“In some cases,” said Nipper, “we contact the Elizabethton police department, we’re in the city limits of Elizabethton here.”

While both schools agree a large population of students are up to date on receiving alert notifications, Nipper said it’s important to be prepared. 

“It really critical that, especially in the places we find ourselves most often,” he said, “that we are always thinking about at least in the back of our minds, ‘what would I do if something like this happened?'”

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