At Grambling State University on Oct. 21, 2021, students are back to classes after multiple shootings in one week. (Photo by Rachel Mipro/Louisiana Illuminator)
Grambling State University President Rick Gallot said his school will retain a campus curfew and has cancelled night events for the foreseeable future in an effort to improve safety. The university has been the sight of eight shootings over the last four years.
“The vast majority of problems that we’ve experienced have been as a result of non-students,” Gallot said. “And so again, not providing any opportunity or anything that would facilitate or encourage folks with bad intentions to be here on our campus is certainly our top priority.”
If a student wants to access student housing between the hours of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. they need to show student I.D. to law enforcement officers manning campus checkpoints. Kickoff for the last Grambling home football game was also moved from the evening to the morning to prevent violence.
Gallot plans to take more security measures during the spring semester, including potentially moving night basketball games to the daytime.
“Unlike homecoming, there won’t be after parties and things like that – that again, would encourage outsiders to want to be here,” Gallot said.
Since the beginning of 2017, at least four people have been killed and 15 wounded during Grambling’s shootings. The shootings were all different, and the circumstances of each couldn’t be compared, Gallot said this month. Campus officials have increased safety measures after each shooting, doing everything they “were expected to do,” he said.
“I attended Grambling, I’m a product of this community. I attended nursery school through college on this campus, and so nobody is more against the thought of this as I am, but at the same time, there’s a level of action that is necessary right now,” Gallot said. “Parents want to know that we are doing something to try and ensure that the non-students are not here on campus causing trouble. It’s a balancing test, it really is.”
Over the last three years, the university has also replaced 200 security cameras and added five cars to the schools’ security patrol, he said.
There’s also long-term plans to improve school’s safety.
The university inserted an $18 million barrier fence to their five-year construction plan. The project, which will add a “protective perimeter” to the campus, is meant to control traffic at the university, which is situated on the main street of the City of Grambling.
Due to the open nature of the campus, people who are not faculty, staff and students can easily access the university.
Gallot did not know when the fencing project would be completed. He stressed that there would also be a “technology overlay,” to the project, perhaps including license plate readers and increased video surveillance, among other measures.
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