The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Staff editorial: Safety procedures important to know

After a professor in Alabama was accused of killing three people in a faculty meeting, it’s comforting to know that UW-Eau Claire has measures in place to ensure students’ safety.

All students and staff members at UW-Eau Claire are responsible for reporting suspicious behavior, The Leader-Telegram reports. Potentially dangerous situations can be reported to the University Police, offices of Affirmative Action, Dean of Students or human resources.

While UW-Eau Claire should be commended for taking all threats seriously, it seems impossible to anticipate all dangerous situations.

The university could make students even more prepared by publicizing its emergency policies more to students, so they know exactly how to react in potentially threatening situations.

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The university’s Web site has a detailed document outlining potential emergencies, including bomb threats, shootings and chemical waste spills. The university also offers a text-message alert system for registered users. The university’s emergency handbook advises people to have a pre-planned escape route and to leave backpacks and bags behind, if a situation arises.

The Leader Telegram report states that the University of Alabama-Huntsville biology department chair showed the professor, Amy Bishop, a letter that articulated student disapproval of her teaching methods. The department also denied Bishop tenure.

While it’s no excuse for the violent actions, perhaps the biology department could have softened the blow to Bishop and dealt with her teaching issues more respectfully. Hopefully this incident won’t discourage students from giving honest, constructive evaluations of their professors. Students need the opportunity to honestly share their feedback, but it’s up to academic departments to handle that information sensitively.

UW-Eau Claire police could have a hand in preventing a similar tragedy from happening on this campus. If the police made more routine rounds in campus buildings and were a visible presence around campus, violent acts could be discouraged. They would need to alternate their scheduled rounds, but a proactive approach to campus safety is infinitely better than the alternative.

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