- Associated Press - Saturday, October 10, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - For many college students at the University of Arkansas system’s campuses, the mantra “Avoid, Deny, Defend” is as familiar as lyrics to their favorite song.

It’s the protocol for what to do in an active shooter situation - avoid the area where the active shooter situation is happening, deny the shooter access to where you are by barricading the door and defend yourself against the shooter as a last resort.

“Every teacher and professor at UA Fayetteville is required to put that on their syllabus,” said Morgan Farmer, a 21-year-old senior at the system’s flagship Fayetteville campus. “So you hear that for every classroom you would be in when you review the class syllabus … They have that active shooter procedure listed out specific to that room.”

The protocol was brought into sharp focus for students across the country as campuses reeled from an Oct. 1 shooting rampage at an Oregon community college where nine people died. The Associated Press reached out to college administrators, students and faculty in more than three dozen states to ask about emergency plans.

Arkansas’ two largest university systems require every campus to plan specifically for an active shooter, but administrators said many of the campuses have different needs based on their size, location and integration with the surrounding community.

Spreading the message became a mission earlier this year for Farmer, who is vice president of the Associated Student Government at UA Fayetteville, and her cohort President Tanner Bone after an August incident in which a Mississippi State University student threatened suicide and harm to other students. No one was injured and no shots were fired, but Bone said University of Arkansas campuses responded with a social media campaign.

“(The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) released, the day after the Mississippi State shooting, a video that is about four minutes long, and it goes through how you would react in an active shooter situation. It’s a pretty intense video,” he said.

Arkansas State University System spokesman Jeff Hankins said the system doesn’t require the campuses to run active shooter drills, but all of them - including the four-year Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and the two-year campuses around the state - do for students and faculty. They also post their plans to campus websites.

At ASU’s Jonesboro campus, all first-year students are required to take part in an active shooter drill. The program has been in place for more than five years, according to Student Government Association President Logan Mustain.

Faculty Senate Chairman Greg Phillips said not all faculty and staff have done training drills, though.

“Immediately after the Oregon incident last week I got dozens of phone calls and emails … asking do we have a training program,” Phillips said, “and the answer is yes we do and there are more coming up.”


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