UMD students react to gun violence on college campuses

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With the frequency of violent attacks on college campuses increasing, student calls for action are as well.

As campus reopened and regular classes resumed at MSU last week, many MSU students decided they wouldn’t return to business as usual so easily.

More than 1,000 MSU students gathered on the lawn of their state’s capital building to hold a sit-in protest.

“The Michigan State incident hits home, because it’s a higher education institution not too far from here,” said Chief of the University Police, Sean Huls.

Students at Duluth’s largest public university reacted to the most recent tragedy at Michigan State University.

“There does need to be more regulation, and that’s not what people want to hear,” said UMD student Peyton Haug.

For many students, the possibility of a threat on campus is a real worry.

“We’re also a bus station here. If anyone comes in, it’s an open door,” said Haug. “What happened in Michigan, wasn’t someone who was involved with campus.”

Other students think UMD’s campus is mostly a safe place to be.

“For the most part, I do feel safe walking around campus,” said Edward Shulstrom, a freshman at UMD.

According to an FBI report, in spite of the higher frequency of attacks on campuses, they are still very safe in comparison to other public spaces.

“We want our students to have a healthy awareness, not live in fear,” said Huls. “The likelihood of one of these happening is still very rare, but nevertheless, we can’t dismiss it.”

Some students worry, they wouldn’t know what to do if they were to face a threat on campus.

“I’ve not really been through any sort of drill or precaution,” said Haug. “So just having a conversation would be a good start.”

Training on what to do was available to students and staff last fall, and the University is planning to hold more in the future.

“The program we use is run, hide, fight. The first step is, if one of these incidences were to unfold, the first step that we train our community to do is run,” said Huls. “Remove yourself as quickly as you can if it’s safe to do so. If you can’t, hide. Shelter in place or take other measures. And if all of those are unavailable in a last resort, if the shooter or threat is right in front of you, we teach our community how to prepare themselves if they need to fight.”

In the meantime, worried students and staff are advised to stop by the UMD Police Department, where preparedness resources are available, which may help alleviate some of that worry.