UNLV Grappling with Shooting Aftermath and How to Move Forward
Officials are beginning to take steps to repair UNLV’s campus and bolster security following the December 6 mass shooting.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – It’s been nearly two weeks since a gunman opened fire at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), killing three faculty members, seriously injuring another, and traumatizing students, other faculty, staff members, and the entire community.
University officials are now tackling the difficult challenge of recovery and repairing the campus. Although there has been no official comment on the amount of structural damage that happened as a result of the active shooter attack, faculty and staff tell the Nevada Independent that hundreds of doors are broken on campus. In many cases, the doors, which were broken in every building, were damaged by SWAT teams using battering rams to enter and clear rooms of sheltering students and staff immediately after the shooting.
According to a spokesperson for UNLV, the damage is being assessed, and some repairs are already underway.
Gov. Joe Lombardo’s office is communicating with university officials on ways to bolster security, and UNLV President Keith Whitfield has said repeatedly that he will be requesting funds for more security on campus, including cameras in all campus buildings, reports the Las Vegas Sun. The building where the December 6 shooting occurred didn’t have any interior video surveillance, making it difficult for investigators to piece together how the attack unfolded.
Bolstering protective systems and measures on campus appears to have a lot of support. The union representing faculty at eight Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) campuses is urging the state legislature to improve security. Some UNLV faculty are pushing for cameras inside older buildings, panic buttons in classrooms, and electronic door locks that can lock from the inside. Additionally, more than 13,700 people have signed an online petition calling for a closed campus, which would only allow authorized students and faculty access, reports the Nevada Independent. However, Whitfield said that option is probably not practical.
The last time UNLV made significant upgrades to its security infrastructure was in 2018, which followed a spate of on-campus crime as well as the October 2017 Route 91/Mandalay Bay hotel mass shooting, which killed 60 and injured approximate 867.
Lombardo’s office is waiting for results from the police probe into the mass shooting at UNLV. Additionally, an outside firm has been hired to evaluate the university’s response to the tragedy.
One system that was already on campus when the December 6 shooting happened that received praise from officials was the university’s emergency notification system. The technology used by UNLV includes a smartphone app, text messaging, and email notifications.
As things currently stand, in-person final exams have been cancelled, and classes are set to resume January 16. Winter commencements will take place starting this Wednesday at the Thomas and Mack Center. There will be additional security.
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