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"Why We Will Practice Sheltering in Place" Blog Entry

(following is an excerpt from President Dr. Kristine Young's most recent blog post, dated Sept. 15)

There was once a time where most of us assumed that our safety and security was not at risk. Unfortunately, incidents dating from the massacre at Columbine High School to more recent incidents at the Aurora (Colorado) movie theatre, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Boston Marathon, Umpqua Community College, UCLA, and the Pulse nightclub in Florida and too many others to outline here have shattered that long-ago reality. Today, we live in an “If you See Something, Say Something” world where many people are constantly looking over their shoulder and no one can be sure where the next atrocity might occur.

Since arriving at SUNY Orange and happily settling into my first presidency, our great nation has endured some of the incidents I mentioned above. After the somewhat overlooked murder-suicide at UCLA this pastJune 1(which begs a question about how we've even come to overlook such things), my sense of responsibility was heightened.  It seems that social media was accessed by more on-campus individuals than UCLA's official communication systems and, not surprisingly, different understandings of what was happening resulted. While UCLA has an urban and expansive campus unlike ours (students in buildings distant to the event were not at risk), based on these communications and life experiences, those at UCLA that day reacted differently than one another and sometimes at odds with one another or what the incident indicated.   I worried more than ever about SUNY Orange's response should we ever be visited by such a threat.

But it was after the Pulse nightclub event, the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history, when I felt most compelled to share what I was feeling and what I was thinking with our College community. I wanted to comfort our students and our employees.  But I wasn’t comfortable posting those thoughts in any of the “official” communication tools available to me at the College. Shortly afterward, I elected to pursue this blog as a casual, non-official way to occasionally share my thoughts and emotions on all types of topics, both positive and negative.

And, I resolved to do more to prepare SUNY Orange.

Over the past year, I’ve reflected often and solicited advice about how we can further improve the safety and security of both our Middletown and Newburgh campuses. We’ve done quite a bit both behind and in-front-of-the-scenes, and our crime statistics (which will be posted in our annual Safety and Security report due out by the end of September) show that both of our campuses are exceptionally safe. But in this line of work, and at this time in our society’s evolution, you cannot rest on your laurels, and you can never be too prepared.

That’s why I’ve directed SUNY Orange to hold a College-wide “Shelter in Place” drill on the morning of  Sept. 28. I want us to go through the practice of holding this drill so that we can assess our preparedness, train our students and employees, and implement improvements in those areas where more work is necessary. ...

read the remainder of the blog entry at:

Mike Albright