International Voices, a student-governed magazine, partnered with the Lehigh University Police Department to host a crime prevention workshop about active shooter protocol on Sept. 27.
Officer Lora Martin said students need to be educated about what to do in the event of an active shooter.
“I feel that (these programs) are very important because we need to talk about it and be aware that something like that could possibly happen on campus,” Martin said.
International Voices Adviser Teresa Cusumano said the event was important, especially for international students, who might be unfamiliar with these kinds of situations and the measures taken for protection. Cusumano said education and communication are key to safety and crime prevention.
Zihao Shen, ’22, said as an international student, he has never had this kind of training.
“(Shootings) can’t be prevented, but it is really useful to know what we need to do,” Shen said.
Martin encourages everyone to be proactive in learning about how to protect themselves.
“We are trained since kindergarten about what to do if a fire alarm goes off,” Martin said. “We know exactly what to do and we are comfortable with it. But if an active shooting happened, we (would) hesitate, and it takes time before you process it because we don’t live in that type of environment every day.”
Martin said she doesn’t want students to become paranoid. Instead, she wants them to understand how crucial it is to be aware of their surroundings and know how to approach these situations. She advised attendees to think about possible exits in new rooms and to immediately provide their locations when and if they ever call 911.
LUPD Officer Michael Dragovich said he has noticed that students are so focused on their phones that it takes them minutes before they realize he is behind them on his bike.
“Don’t be paranoid, but it doesn’t hurt to look over your shoulder every once in a while,” Dragovich said.
Danit Hang, ’21, said because it can be easy to zone out and not pay attention, she sometimes isn’t fully aware of his surroundings.
Aside from Dragovich and Martin, there were 17 students and two professors at the event. The officers shared tips and Martin took the opportunity to demonstrate protective measures.
Martin laid perpendicular to the door to demonstrate how to block an entrance if an active shooter is present and heavy furniture isn’t accessible. Martin said a shooter will likely not bother to break in if a door is blocked.
Martin said she hopes students take LUPD’s message seriously.
“We have to work as a team because if something like that should happen, then, it is not just that you need us, but we need you,” Martin said.