Michigan State University is implementing new safety measures after a gunman, not related to the school, killed three people on the campus. Beginning March 13, most buildings will require key card entry from 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., and the school's 1,300 classrooms will have locking systems installed by the fall semester.
Creating a safer and more welcoming campus is a stated goal of Michigan State University. The injury and loss of life that occurred Feb. 13 commits us to do more and better. Over the past two weeks, we have received many suggestions regarding the safety of our campus, and we appreciate the robust discussion. We write today to share some of the initial decisions that have been made and work that will begin soon. These are not the only updates or changes and not the only time feedback will be sought. This letter is intended to be the starting point on our campus journey toward a balance of ‘safety and welcoming,’ and we welcome your engagement.
Building and room accessibility, campus monitoring and safety training
- Building access: Currently, most buildings on the East Lansing campus are open during the day and into the evening hours, locking from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and requiring key card access during the locked times. Beginning March 13, these buildings will require key card access by current students, faculty or staff members from 6 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. Our MSU campuses in Flint, Grand Rapids and Detroit also are evaluating building access accommodations that need to be considered. A robust set of FAQs is being developed to help answer questions around this change, and accommodations will be made for public events that take place on campus.
- Door locks: Through our campus safety and infrastructure experts, we identified a vendor with an appropriate lock system that allows the university to maintain code compliance. We have more than 1,300 academic classrooms on campus and will prioritize those rooms. Our goal is to have locks installed on all of these doors by the beginning of the fall semester.
- Cameras: Currently, more than 2,000 cameras already are in place around campus, and we plan to enhance that number by adding to areas that do not have adequate coverage, including academic buildings and all Green Light phones already on campus. MSU Police and Public Safety is continuing its request for proposal and enhancement plans to better centralize the monitoring of all campus cameras, including the new ones we will be adding. We anticipate the RFP process to wrap up in late March.
- Training: While Active Violent Intruder Training is currently voluntary, we will require this training by the beginning of the next academic year for all employees and students. More information will be provided about the training in the coming months.
Safety accreditation, review and next steps
Our campus police department justly earned wide praise for its response to the emergency on Feb. 13, reflecting the thorough planning and training it routinely conducts. In early February, the department earned a second accreditation term from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program. MSU is the only university in Michigan and the Big Ten Conference to receive accreditation.
While we are grateful for the commendations and for our preparation, there is more we can do. Therefore, we will soon conduct an after-action evaluation of how our emergency personnel and university leaders responded to the crisis. In addition, we intend to solicit an external, third-party after-action review. This is a common practice for education institutions that have experienced similar situations and a chance to review what went well during the emergency response and what could improve. The university will soon release an RFP for a vendor to assist with the review, and we continue our conversations with the federal Office of Victims of Crime as well. The third-party report will result in recommendations that will be made public.
We will update the campus community as these safety improvements and enhancements roll out. Our first week back was an emotional one, but we hope you find strength in being back together. The upcoming spring break will provide another opportunity for reflection and healing for some and a slower pace on campus for others.
Please remember to visit MSU’s campus safety information page to stay up to date on supportive resources and important information. We all want to feel safe and welcomed, and we are on a journey toward these shared attributes of our university.
Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her)
Thomas D. Jeitschko (he/him)
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Interim Provost
Norman J. Beauchamp (he/him)
Executive Vice President for Health Sciences
Melissa Woo (she/her)
Executive Vice President for Administration
Vennie Gore (he/him)
Senior Vice President for Student Life and Engagement
Marlon C. Lynch (he/him)
Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police