As college leaders ask for state money, how are they keeping campuses safe?

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — After a student killed a campus police officer, Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec knew something had to change.

Since that October 2017 shooting that claimed the life of Texas Tech Police Officer Floyd East, Jr., Schovanec and other university leaders enlisted the Department of Public Safety to conduct a safety review of the campus.

“They did a very extensive study,” Schovanec said of the DPS review, adding that campus officials are continuously updating safety measures. “How do we secure dorms when there is a tragedy of that nature? We have added additional cameras on campus, we have added additional lighting and also there has been an educational goal as to how to respond to an active shooter.”

Leaders from the major university systems including Texas Tech, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, Baylor and Texas State testified before the state’s Senate Finance committee on Wednesday as part of the panel’s appropriations process.

Leaders at other universities agree with Schovanec’s sentiment that safety and security has become a higher priority in the last three years. Not just at Texas Tech, but at college campuses across the country.

“One thing we do every year is we practice live shooter training,” said Angelo State University President Brian May.

May said the school invites local and regional law enforcement to San Angelo, including officers from Texas Tech, to partake in regular exercises that take place in empty dorm rooms during the summer.

“We all work together along with the FBI and then we have a center for security studies at San Angelo where we have a lot of experience both from the FBI, the military and so we keep up with technology,” May said.

“Ultimately it’s about caring about our students and caring about our employees and we have a lot of eyes and ears out there and we practice that vigilance every single day,” May continued. “When parents drop off their children at your campus it is the single most important priority we have.”

Schovanec would not go into further detail about additional safety measures for security reasons.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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