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WPU Remains Safe After Lockdown

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WPU Remains Safe After Lockdown

Caitlin Richards

Caitlin Richards

Caitlin Richards

Caitlin Richards, News Editor

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At approximately 1:00pm Monday, William Peace University students, faculty, and staff were asked to shelter in place as the emergency alert system went off.  There was a potential gun threat to campus, which caused WPU to be on lockdown for a couple of hours.

When the alert first went off, some students thought that it was just a drill and didn’t take it seriously at first, while others immediately found a place to take shelter.

“My first thought was ‘what’s going on,'” said WPU junior, Taylor Byrd. “I didn’t really know what that [alert] meant and then my teacher came in and he was like ‘okay hurry up and get in the back,’ and a couple of my classmates went to the windows and realized that there were cops outside and that this probably was a real thing. Panic set in for a little bit, but I immediately knew I just needed to get to the back of the room and sit down.”

“We were kind of frustrated the whole time because we didn’t have any real information on what was going on and we had to look for outside sources, which probably didn’t have the best information.”

“I’m glad everyone is okay and it turned out ok I guess, but I’m still frustrated by the fact that we didn’t receive information for a long time and had to figure it out from a teacher.”

Once the lockdown had been lifted and the campus could resume as normal, WPU President, Dr. Brian Ralph issued a press release.

“We had determined that the threat was called in as a potential threat coming to campus. So at no time was the campus safety compromised in any way,” said Dr. Ralph during the press release. “It is our understanding at this time that [the gunman] was not a student at the university. Because it is an ongoing investigation, we don’t have a lot of details.”

“We’re working closely with the law enforcement to help with that, but obviously our primary focus was making sure that the campus was safe and secure. In partnering with our local law enforcement, we were able to get information to determine that the threat was no longer to campus.”

“First and foremost, we obviously take safety as a very high priority and conduct active shooter drills every semester in partnership with the Raleigh Police Department, and obviously thrilled that our students, faculty, and staff responded quickly and appropriately as soon as the alert was issued.”

“It’s an uncomfortable situation for those involved, but to the best of our knowledge right now, everyone responded beautifully and was in as safe of a position as they could be, given the potential threat.”

“[Raleigh Police Department] conducted a full investigation, however they also were able to determine other information that allowed them to bring a conclusion to the all clear.”

“We always air on the side of being over communicative with any potential threats made to campus, so as soon as we learned of the potential threat, we issued it [the alert] as quickly as possible. Our best understanding was the nature of the potential threat coming to campus, so it gave us a little bit of time to get those messages out as quickly as possible to make sure people sheltered in place and followed all our protocols and policies that we have as part of our training for an active shooter.”

During the press release, Dr. Ralph was asked how WPU will handle this situation moving forward as the semester is coming to an end and finals approach.

“Well certainly this is a nerve wracking situation for all involved and I hope the Peace community is going to be the Peace community. A place where we provide a lot of support and wrap our arms around each other as needed to encourage students as they go through this.”

“We are confident that there is no longer a threat to campus and hopefully students will be able to respond appropriately, as you pointed out, we have finals starting at the end of this week. This is a tough situation that they’re going to have to navigate through, but I’m confident that our students can do that.”

“We’ve got great faculty, staff, and counseling support if needed and I’m very sure they’ll be able to help the entire campus community to move forward and finish strong.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WPU Remains Safe After Lockdown