Delaware State's Quick Response to Shootings Praised by Safety Experts

September 22, 2007

Safety experts have praised Delaware State University’s speedy response to the shootings on its campus early Friday morning. The shootings, which left one student injured and in stable condition and another in serious condition, were reported to the campus police at 12:54 a.m.

College officials immediately began calling resident assistants in the dormitories to gather students in the hallways, and by roughly 4 a.m., according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, all 1,200 people living in campus housing had been told of the shootings. Safety experts praised the university’s approach of using multiple methods of contacting those on the campus: phone calls, a statement on the Web site, personal visits, and handbills around the campus.

“They did a lot of things right,” said S. Daniel Carter, vice president of operations at Security on Campus, a group that has lobbied for better reporting of campus crimes. “They secured their facilities and kept their students in the securest areas they have.”

The Washington Post reported that the shootings started in response to a dispute over a card game. Two “persons of interest” were interviewed and released Saturday morning, according to the Associated Press.

Following the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in April, a report by a commission appointed by the Virginia governor concluded that lives could have been saved if the campus had been alerted earlier and classes had been canceled. —David L. Wheeler