Senators Tiffany Lian and Tyler Matheson presented a proposal to make active shooter preparedness training mandatory for students at Tuesday’s Undergraduate Student Government Senate meeting. Senators Leena Danpour and Sabrina Enriquez, as well as Secretary Danya Rafiqi and Parliamentarian Tricia Xu, also worked on drafting the resolution.
The online training would prepare students for how to react in a situation where one or more armed people are present on campus. It would be similar in style to AlcoholEdu, the online drinking safety program that all incoming freshmen are required to complete.
The idea was in part sparked by a shooting on the UCLA campus that took place on June 1, which sent the school into lockdown and ended with the death of a professor. This event, Lian said, hit close to home.
“As neighbors to UCLA, this really woke us up,” Lian said. “If this could happen at UCLA, this could happen at USC just as easily.”
Though the DPS website describes a program called “Run, Hide, Fight,” a method promoted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security describing the best way to react when confronted with an active shooter, few people are aware of this initiative. The plan instructs students to run while leaving personal belongings behind, to hide behind locked doors and to fight only if absolutely necessary.
“The limited lockdown, which is what we used to do in high school, was something that the staff grew up with as well,” Matheson said. “So we have an environment where people don’t really understand the dynamics of what an active shooter situation might be.”
To support their proposal, the senators brought up a 2007 report on the benefits of AlcoholEdu, which was conducted one semester after the program was first implemented at USC. The report indicated that students had a greater awareness of how much they were drinking after completing the program, as well as a better understanding of the dangers associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The senators also mentioned, however, that no further summaries have been done on the performance of AlcoholEdu in the 10 years since its original implementation, which points to a need for regular and thorough reviews to ensure that any mandatory training program is doing its job.
The active shooter training proposal also pointed out several fatal school shootings, such as incidents at Seattle Pacific University and Umpqua Community College, as evidence of the real dangers that active shooters pose to students, and to stress the importance of being prepared.
After Lian and Matheson finished their presentation, Danpour explained her plans to work on tuition transparency by sending out a memorandum to students once the administration figures out what the next year’s tuition will be. The memorandum would compare the previous year’s tuition to the upcoming year’s tuition, as well as show a breakdown of how the tuition money would be allocated.
Sen. Paul Samaha also brought up his plans to advocate for tuition affordability and put a stop to the yearly tuition increases, such as ensuring that a student is present at meetings that decide tuition costs.
“[The board members] are not in touch with the realities of being a USC student,” Samaha said. “They have no idea that students are starving, that some people end up homeless.”