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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Letter to President Kenny

    Dear Dr. Kenny,

    I hope this e-mail finds you doing well. My name is Andrew Bruskin, and we are on the University Senate together. I would like to give you my analysis of the situation that occurred on Monday, Feb. 25, and what the university can do to improve their efficiency and performance in case there is a “next time.”

    The events that happened on Feb. 25 startled everyone and served as a reminder that a potential campus shooting can happen very, very close to home. While messages were sent out in a timely manner to the majority of students on campus, there were some parts of the day that I would like to bring up and critique.

    The main problem that needs to be addressed is the efficiency of Stony Brook University to take preventive measures in case the unthinkable happens: an armed suspect starts shooting people on campus. Since the suspect was still at large after the attempted robbery at the Student Activity Center, the university should have immediately ordered a lockdown of the entire campus, post a bulletin on the website and canceled classes until we heard from campus police that it was safe to resume with normal business.

    While this would be a detriment to educational learning, safety and security is obviously of paramount importance. These preventive measures are extremely important, given the latest string of school shootings on college campuses. Our motto should be this: better to be safe rather than sorry.

    Right after the administration receives word of an armed suspect on campus, the university needs to immediately communicate with all departments to ensure everyone is safe, secure and is in lockdown mode. These first few minutes are vital. Every minute that goes by is another opportunity for the gunman to potentially harm a student on campus. While people may claim this is over exaggerating, nothing can be further from the truth when it comes to people’s security.

    Unfortunately, these safety measures did not happen on Feb. 25. The bulletin on the website came too late and the cell phone texts were only a half-security measure. If the gunman came back onto campus with the intent to kill, he could have easily shot students who were outside and still scattered across campus.

    Besides ordering an immediate lockdown on campus when there is word of an armed gunman, there also needs to be communication with the media. News 12 was covering this incident and they never received any word of what Stony Brook University was planning to do.

    When I phoned other administrative offices on campus, they also did not know exactly what to do. Should we cancel class or not cancel class? Should we order a lockdown or not? All of these key decisions were on a department by department, faculty by faculty and professor by professor basis. It was also at the student’s discretion if they should stay in their rooms or attend class. This created confusion among students on campus. This is the main reason why these decisions need to explicitly come from the president’s office and the provost’s office. Once the campus is aware that there is a lockdown, the local media should be informed, since there are students and residents of the surrounding community listening in as well.

    This day should serve as a tremendous wake up call for the campus. Luckily, we dodged a major bullet and the situation could have been much, much worse. I sincerely hope the administration take these precautions into consideration for the future and learns from these mistakes.

    Thank you for reading my analysis of the situation. I am sure there will be much discussion of this event in the next few weeks, and I will gladly discuss this matter with you when you are free.

    Sincerely, Andrew Bruskin

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