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GSU officials reviewing security measures and policies
Joe Franklin for web
Joe Franklin, GSU vice president of Business and Finance - photo by Herald File
    After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the nation, Georgia Southern University joined the rest of the country in reviewing, upgrading and scrutinizing security measures. While a good security plan was already in place, however, GSU officials reviewed its emergency response plan Tuesday in the wake of Monday's horrific shooting incident at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
    Tuesday, in a released statement, the National Crime Prevention Council  said the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech are a "sharp reminder that every college and university is vulnerable to violence" and recommended all higher education campuses continually update and rehearse emergency plans and emphasize a campus community-wide crime prevention strategy.
    Joe Franklin,  GSU's vice president of Business and Finance, said Tuesday the university has been proactive in making sure the safety policies are up to date and more than adequate.
    Including the gunman, Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old senior majoring in English, 33 were killed and 26 injured in the killing spree Monday. Seung-Hui committed suicide after the mass shooting.
    While there is no feasible way to prevent such an incident happening anywhere without drastic measures, GSU leaders still reviewed policies Monday and Tuesday.
    "You don't want to turn it into a military reservation with an officer in every classroom," GSU Police Chief Ken Brown said Monday.
    But there are safety measures in place that would help protect students in case something of this magnitude occurred, Franklin said .
    "We have previously assessed situations like this," he said, referring to similar reviews of safety and response plans after 9/11. "When things like this happen, you look at what you have in place, and think, what would we change?"
    Virginia Tech officials are receiving "lots of criticism, which I think is not justified," he said. "There is no way to know or prepare for (an emergency situation such as the shootings)."
    Officials discussed reaching students and faculty by e-mail, and about the feasibility of using text messaging. There is a campus public address system located on top of Henderson Library that could reach a large majority of students and others on campus, he said. "We could hit the center of campus pretty well."
    But there is the issue of students living off campus as well,which would require assistance of Statesboro Police and other law enforcement agencies if a lock down was ordered.
    The grapevine is the most effective way of spreading the word, Franklin said.
    "You tell a student and he tells another," he said. "A lot of it is going to be word of mouth. And, we can get e-mails out pretty quickly."
    If an emergency situation occurred on the GSU campus, " We can get to building supervisors and housing directors pretty quickly," he said. "The thing is, making the decision to do it."
    When things are happening, it is hard to react in the midst of the shock, and "in the middle of a crisis situation, you have to think 'right now, we have to do this,'" he said.
    Another safety measure would be law enforcement making a "sweep across campus" to inform people of the potential danger and get them inside, he said.
    "I think we could very effectively lock down the campus" in case of a dangerous situation, Franklin said.
    Soon, the GSU Physical Plant workers and housing department will be on the same radio system as local law enforcement agencies, which share a system, he said. The move was already in place before Monday's shooting occurred, and the system should be operational in a few weeks, he said.
    Both Brown and Statesboro Police Chief Stan York said Monday their agencies and all other public safety and law enforcement agencies have entered mutual aid agreements where, in case of an emergency situation, all join together to handle the crisis.
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