Shepherd University Police Sgt. David Kelvington said that whether people with concealed carry permits should be allowed to carry guns on campus has been a hot topic of discussion among campus administrators during a presentation he gave to the Student Government Association March 24.
“There has been a huge debate over whether there should be concealed carry allowed on campus,” Kelvington said. “I know there are a lot of people here that have these permits here.”
Kelvington’s presentation included a 20-minute video developed by students and faculty at Washington State University titled, “Shots fired on Campus.”
“I don’t want you to be paranoid,” Kelvington said. “This is the kind of video I wouldn’t want to show you, but unfortunately with the way the world is now, I think it’s important. I want Shepherd University to start thinking about the what ifs.”
“Shots fired on campus” begins with the catch line “The odds of being involved in something like this are similar to the odds of being struck by lightning.” The video advocated bystander intervention, campus-wide violence prevention programs and preached three main values: awareness, preparation and rehearsal.
“Ultimately, stand up, don’t stand by. Not getting involved can get people hurt, or worse, killed,” Kelvington said. “Anything you do that disrupts the bad guy could save your life, come in with a plan, use anything you can, a book, some tape, anything.
Kelvington stressed the value of having a plan, and repeated the video’s instructions to treat anything that sounds like a gunshot as if it is a gunshot until it is proven not to be.
“I always say a bad plan is better than no plan,” Kelvington said. “You can’t profile active shooters, you never know who might be one, the only common denominator between these people is that they are injustice collectors, they take small offenses too seriously. Practice your plan so it becomes muscle memory and report anything suspicious to us.”
Kelvington also stressed that students should always try to be safe on campus, highlighting that students are permitted to carry pocket knives and pepper spray. He also stated that he believes students should travel in groups, and that the police department offers escorts to students that do not feel safe.
“Shepherd is not the best lit campus, so safe thinking is best. Short cuts are not safe cuts, avoid poorly lit areas.” Kelvington said.
“I believe there is a time to be a sheep, a time to be compassionate,” Kelvington said in his closing statements. “But there is a time to be a lion, and if there ever is an active shooter on our campus I want them to find out that our campus is crawling with lions. The bottom line is that you don’t want to become a victim. What we really need to do is look out for each other.”
SGA meetings are held on the third floor of the Student Center every Tuesday at 5 p.m. Sgt. Kelvington can be reached at (304)876-5128 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.