By Bri Griffith
In light of recent tragedies, including a number of mass shootings on college campuses nationwide, talking about safety at Carlow seems not only relevant, but also necessary. How safe do students feel on Carlow’s campus, and how prepared are we as a university for life-threatening situations? Sean Johnson, Chief of Police at Carlow University, discussed safety at Carlow, and provided valuable information everybody should be aware of.
CPR & Self-defense Trainings
CPR and self-defense trainings are offered every month, for both students and faculty. Anybody can check the board on the wall next to the Public Safety Training Center, located on the third floor of Frances Ward Hall, for the official training schedule. It includes specific dates and times.
There are emergency phones located every 30 yards all around campus, including one outside of AJP, two in Parking Lot C, and one outside on St. Joseph Gym. You can use them to let dispatch know you’re in need of immediate help. You can also check the map outside of the first floor entrance to the University Commons for reminders as to where all the call boxes are located. There are also three emergency phones located in the University Commons. Police would like to have emergency phones located in every building on campus in the near future.
Mass Shootings, Natural Disasters, etc.
Johnson offered insight regarding shelter safety, “Last year, we came up with the Emergency Operations and Business Continuity Plan,” he said. “The plan involved physical assessments of every building on campus. We noted the issues each building had, and we came up with a three-year plan in order to address them all.” This plan relates more to administration’s role in handling safety issues on campus. Johnson also talked about what’s offered to students. There are Shelter in Place trainings on campus, which focus on how students at Carlow will be notified of emergency situations, and how they will go about finding shelter until everything’s clear. If you check Carlow’s Portal, the training times and locations are usually listed.
Dispatch is located immediately inside the entrance to Carlow’s Frances Ward Hall, and there’s somebody there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The police have an office across from the Public Safety Training Center, and there’s typically one, if not two, officers there willing to help anybody who needs it. If you ever need to call dispatch, the number is 412-578-6007
When asked if they felt safe at Carlow and why, this is what students had to say:
“I like that dispatch and the police are right there as soon as you walk into the residence hall. I think they would do anything to protect the students from any kind of dangerous situation.”
“Honestly, yeah. I give tours, so I know there’s an emergency phone every 30 yards, and swiping on a campus this small is unheard of. I’m a commuter student, and I have to be signed in to even get into the residence hall.”
— Zack Taylor
“Compared to other schools, I feel like Carlow is more safe. We have to sign in all guests, and the side door locks after 9 p.m. However, I don’t think a shooting is something you can completely prepare for. Carlow does its best with practice drills.”
“Carlow is a very small school, but that doesn’t mean something terrible couldn’t happen here. I think the spontaneity of a shooting is hard to predict, and hard to handle, but I feel safe at Carlow. If I were in a classroom, and somebody opened fire, I have no idea how I’d react. I never want to be in a situation like that, but knowing it could very well happen weighs heavy on my heart.”
“More recently, with the opening of the University Commons, no. I don’t see cops present at the University Commons, and it’s usually unlocked. I know they’re cracking down on the residence hall, but they need to establish boundaries as far as commuter students signing in, and who can get into the residence hall. If I was in the middle of a campus shooting, I’d find a small space, shove myself in there, and call my mom.”
“I’ve never felt safe in the residence hall, but I like knowing that the cops will come get you in Oakland. All you have to do is wait for a group of people, and walk into the residence hall. I work in admissions, and we’ve talked before about not feeling safe with the doors to Antonian typically being unlocked.”
“I think Carlow is safe. It’s in a great location. There are so many other schools surrounding Carlow, like Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon. I’ve never not seen a cop when I’ve been in the residence hall.”
If you’re ever feeling unsafe at Carlow, or have any questions, please stop by the office of the Carlow police on the third floor of Frances Ward Hall.