Members of Wayne State’s Crisis Management Team hosted a virtual Campus Safety Town Hall Thursday morning for an update on the university’s emergency response plans.
Vice President of Marketing and Communications Michael Wright hosted the event and said 600 individuals RSVP’d, including students, faculty, staff, parents and non-WSU affiliated members of the public.
Wright, who’s served as Chair of the Crisis Management Team for 12 years, said they meet monthly to analyze various crises, most recently the shooting at Michigan State University; run through crisis scenarios; and create protocols for active shooter and missing person situations.
President M. Roy Wilson took a moment to sympathize with the parents of MSU students and shared his experience of having a daughter in college out of state.
“I can’t even imagine what parents…must be feeling,” Wilson said. “And this is the reason why we’ve decided to engage parents in all of our communications.”
WSU Police Chief Anthony Holt said the Wayne State University Police Department began active shooter training in 2009 after a shooting at Virginia Tech took the lives of 32 people, and injured 17 others.
Holt said officers frequently run through real-world simulations, the most recent one being held in June 2022.
“We do large-scale exercises. And these are not staged exercises, these are exercises where officers are trained how to respond,” Holt said.
Holt said outside evaluators are brought in to analyze the exercises, which is then used as a basis for further training.
A large-scale exercise will take place in April in collaboration with the Detroit Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and Michigan State Police, Holt said.
“When something like this happens, it’s a total team effort,” he said. “No one agency can do this alone.”
Individual training is given to those who contact WSUPD and visit their website, Holt said.
Rob Thompson, Interim Chief Information Officer and Associate Vice President for Computing and Information Technology, said C&IT has remained observant of improvements in WSU camera systems.
“One of the things that we’re looking at too is adding…floor plan overlays into the camera management environment,” he said. “(To) help assist our offers and dispatchers and responding effectively to evolving situations.”
Director of Housing and Residence Life Nikki Dunham said the housing community follows the same protocol as WSUPD for active shooter preparation.
Dunham said the protocol for WSU housing staff is reviewed yearly.
“The full training that we provide remains online for a refresher for all of our staff throughout the year,” Dunham said. “Chief (Holt) also mentioned tabletop exercises, which we’ve participated in in conjunction with WSUPD in the past as well.
Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Jeffrey Kuentzel said CAPS provides several resources for students who experience trauma after mentally damaging incidents.
“We have case management, so if you need a specialized service that we don’t provide here we have experts that connect you with those resources in the community,” Kuentzel said.
Kuentzel said CAPS also provides debriefing, grief counseling, group therapy and after-hour counseling for residential students — commuting students can contact CAPS through a separate number.
Chief Health and Wellness Officer Laurie Lauzon Clabo encouraged students to use the Campus Health Center’s Metal Health Triage Service, which was implemented in conjunction with Student Senate in October 2022.
“Sometimes when we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, just trying to navigate the variety of services available can just seem too complicated,” Clabo said. “So for this reason, we’ve developed a new resource on campus, a ‘one-stop shop’ if you will.”
Dean of Students David Strauss said the WSU community remains to be compassionate for one another.
“If you see something, say something, and this is a campus that when they see something, they say something,” Strauss said. “Whether it’s to the police department, through the CARE report, to a professor — whatever it is, every member of this community is going to make sure it gets to the right person to get that person the help they need.”
Students struggling with mental health or seeking resources can receive free services on the CAPS website. Students experiencing a mental health crisis during business hours can contact CAPS directly at 313-577-3398. CAPS Afterhours Program is available outside normal hours for on-campus students at 313-577-2277 and off-campus students at 313-577-9982.
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Cover photo by Ashley Harris.