Campus safety at Southeast Missouri State University

Campus safety at Southeast Missouri State University
By: Holly Brantley
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Security is on the minds of folks on college campuses across the country. At Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, they have an emergency plan and they are aware that any campus, including Southeast, could be the target of violence.

Now, with images of the Virginia Tech massacre fresh on their mind, life goes on for those on the campus of SEMO. "If somebody can do it there, somebody can do it here too," said Katelyn Hoerchler, SEMO student.

University leaders say they are prepared. "I think we're prepared to handle any emergency," said Assoc. to the President, Art Wallhausen. Wallhausen says the University ranks among the nation's safety. And, the public safety department is trained to handle any incident.

He explains communication is at the center of the school's comprehensive plan. "We also have weather warning sirens capable of transmitting voice messages," said Wallhausen.

Putting a campus on lock down or calling off classes is not an easy decision. But concerns of parents and students have SEMO taking a closer look at it's procedures. "We are always reevaluating," said Wallhausen.

Students say their thoughts are with those in Virginia dealing with the unthinkable. And, they have advice for administrators should their school ever be a target. "I don't think it should have taken almost two hours to let students know there was a shooting," said Rob Spurlock. "I think they should let everybody know right away," said Hoerchler. "If they know what's going on they might be able to protect themselves."

"It's hard for a school to protect everybody on an open campus," said Rob Stahlinski. "I think students need to know how to protect themselves. Maybe the school can implement a program for that."