Grambling State University (Photo by Rachel Mipro/Louisiana Illuminator)
Higher education officials in Louisiana say they are exploring how to make college campuses safer following two recent shootings at Grambling State University.
“Our challenge is: How do we ensure that our campuses are as safe as they possibly can be?” University of Louisiana system President Jim Henderson said during a hearing before the Louisiana Senate Select Commission on Women and Children Monday.
Along with the two shootings at Grambling in October, Henderson said McNeese State University also reported a “gun incident” and UL-Monroe reported a “gun accident” last week.
At Grambling, the first shooting happened around 1 a.m. on Oct. 13 in front of the student union, killing one person and injuring three others, including two students. Four days later, during homecoming celebrations, a second shooting in the quad area of the campus injured seven and killed one, also around 1 a.m.
“Gun violence is an unfortunate part of life these days,” Henderson said. “And becomes increasingly more common and that’s troubling to see.”
Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed said the Board of Regents has “surveyed all campuses to ask about what you need around student safety.”
The list of needs include:
- Additional fencing
- Card entry access points
- Better exterior campus lighting
- Emergency alarms
- More campus police staffing and training
Reed said those listed items will be included in the requested higher education budget to the Louisiana Legislature next session.
Over half of “gun violence incidents” on college campuses involve “non students who come on to college campuses,” according to Reed.
“We have to make sure that we are… focused on prevention, training and education, but also strong policy and practice,” Reed said to the committee.
LSU President William Tate said 90 percent of gun violence involving college students are off campus, and shootings that happen on campus are usually the result of mental health instability.
“It’s really important that we have outstanding on-campus mental health services,” Tate said.
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