In solidarity with Seattle Pacific University

emergencyplanOn June 5, a shooter later identified as Aaron Ybarra, armed with a shotgun, injured three and killed 19-year-old student Paul Lee. According to the charging document, the Seattle Police Department began receiving 911 calls at 3:24 p.m. and were on the scene five minutes later. The situation was deemed to be under control at 3:31 p.m.
In response to the shooting at Seattle Pacific University, President Dave Rule issue a statement  “Bellevue College is aware of the shooting incident that just occurred at Seattle Pacific University. Local media reports that the incident has ended. Our sympathy to the victims, their families and the entire Seattle Pacific University community.” Four days later, Bellevue College’s VP of Administrative Services, Ray White, sent an email to all BC official accounts explaining “a few important plans and protocols we have in place with our campus community to promote safety and security at BC.” These protocols include RAVE alerts, an opt-in program which uses text messages and emails to alert its subscribers, and ALERTUS, which pushes alerts to all campus networked computers.
White explained that the RAVE emergency system typically send alerts “for such things as snow closures or parking access on opening week.” However, “in an emergency, this system will be used to alert campus to the threat and provide real-time instructions.” Students and staff alike are encouraged to visit getrave.com and sign up for alerts. In the event of an emergency such as an active shooter, campus safety will act to “help others to safety and assist emergency responders as necessary” and through RAVE alerts one may be safely directed away from the threat. Despite the situation being deemed under control at 3:31, RAVE alerts did not notify people until approximately 5 p.m. The alert read: BC Public Safety is monitoring events at Seattle Pacific University. Local media has reported that the incident has ended.
As a result of the delayed notification, students were not made aware of the situation until after it had ben contained. This could potentially put students at risk in an incident of coordinated multiple shootings. “According to [King County Prosecutor Dan] Satterberg, Ybarra thought about shooting people at Washington State University and Central Washington University before deciding on Seattle Pacific University,” reported King 5. Tommy Vu, director of public safety, as well as other members of public safety refused to comment on the shooting, alert system or BC procedures.
BC occasionally holds emergency preparedness days, in which faculty and staff are briefed on emergency procedure and trained to properly respond to dangerous situations though only full time faculty members are required to go who collectively make up approximately 20% of faculty. The most recent emergency preparedness day was March 4, and the proceedings included campus shooter scenarios and partnership with various emergency responders  including City of Bellevue Emergency Operations Center, King County Emergency Coordination Center, Bellevue Police Department, Bellevue Fire Department, King County Metro, and NORCOM. White stated that “by all accounts the day was very successful. Participants were eager to learn about emergency preparedness and voiced their support for much more training. It was valuable to engage with our local emergency responders and agencies as well.” Jim Sisko echoes those sentiments from a faculty standpoint, stating that “The emergency preparedness day was well organized. The session designed to help us deal with an armed intruders was particularly informative”
“I think it is imperative that we have these discussions with our students,” said Sisko. “I took some time with my classes to discuss the procedures for an armed intruder. The conversation was difficult but the students seemed relieved to have a plan in place.” White also stated that “we are currently developing a five-year plan that will address the emergency needs and capacity of our campus.” In the coming months additional first aid kits, emergency supply boxes and strategically located AEDs will appear about the main and north campuses.

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