In a message to the U-M community Monday, President Mark Schlissel praised students and other community members for their quick reaction to the initial reports of possible gunfire on campus March 16, and pledged the university was carefully examining all aspects of the emergency alert process.
“We must always strive to be better, safer and more supportive in every way possible,” the president said in an email message sent to all faculty, staff and students on the Ann Arbor campus.
Schlissel said he and other campus leaders have spent much of the past week examining and discussing the reports of an active shooter on campus March 16 and how the community responded.
“While many aspects of our response went according to plan, we uncovered deficiencies in the activation of our emergency alert system and the distribution of accurate information and instructions that will need to be corrected immediately,” he said.
“Though we later found no active threat to our campus, the fear is no less real. I have heard from many students, faculty and staff that the reports of gunfire were terrifying. The traumatic incident affected and continues to affect many people in our community in a deeply personal way,” Schlissel said, adding that the reports came during a vigil on the Diag mourning the victims of “the hateful, Islamophobic attacks in New Zealand.”
The president said he has heard nothing but praise for how students and others acted during those initial chaotic moments.
“Our Division of Public Safety and Security reported that attendees followed instructions, helped each other and followed guidelines from training — all in the interest of safety,” he said. “I also heard that many students, faculty and staff did not know or remember what do to in these circumstances and that more frequent training and updates would be of value to them.”
The president said the university is carefully analyzing its emergency response protocols.
“There is no doubt we must do more to keep our campus safe, and I assure you we are working on changes that we can implement now and going forward,” he said.
Schlissel also said the university is examining all aspects of the emergency alert process — from the modalities used to how individuals sign up for alerts.
The president urged all members of the university community to check out the digital training resources available on the DPSS website, including an active attacker video that was created just for U-M.
And he urged students, faculty and staff to make sure they were signed up for more than one way to receive DPSS emergency alerts, which are shared by email, text, phone calls, social media and by push notifications through the Michigan App and DPSS app for cell phones.
The president noted students, faculty and staff must put their mobile numbers into Wolverine Access for DPSS to be able to send them emergency alert texts and phone calls.
“The safety and well-being of people in our community is my foremost concern. I commend everyone who has reached out to offer support to others or to provide suggestions on how we can improve our processes,” the president said in concluding his email message.