Editorial: Friday’s shooter drill overlooked Buzzard Hall elevator

Twenty people played victims. Response time was one to two minutes. University and Charleston Police departments, as well as ambulances, were at the scene.

Victims were tended to and sent in ambulances to receive more care. A press conference was held.

These events, which happened between 8 a.m. and noon Friday, were a part of the active shooter drill conducted by the university.

Everything, fake or real, went smoothly with little to no problems. The “shooter” was found.

“Victims” were saved. And there were no problems seen with the drill in general.

However, there was one flaw that could have been avoided.

The area the university blocked off in Buzzard Hall contains a vital part of the building — the elevator.

The university blocked off the Buzzard auditorium area, the second-floor balcony area and parts of the hallways adjacent to the auditorium area.

Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, said the College of Education and Professional Studies was contacted before the drill so accommodations could be made for individuals who needed to use the elevator.

But what about other employees who use Buzzard, who may not be in the College of Education and Professional Studies? They too should have been notified because the university may not know an employee inside Buzzard must use the elevator because of an injury.

Contacting only one college (one portion of those who use the building) is not acceptable given it is the only elevator in the building.

Granted, while the drill was being conducted, there seemed to have been no issues concerning people needing to use the elevator on Friday, but what if? What if someone in a wheelchair needed to get to the second floor?

The drill was successful, no doubt about that. It was well organized and calm; however, the university needs to remember that the day must go on.

Nadler said the university wanted to treat the training as realistically as possible.

This is an excellent mindset to have when preparing for an active shooter situation, but elevators need to remain accessible. The elevator did not have to be closed.

The blocked-off area could have been altered so that it did not include the elevator or the drill could have been held on a day when classes are not in session so that any student, faculty or staff needing to use the elevator could be avoided.

If a drill is to be truly successful, it needs to be looked at from all angles, including handicapped accessibility.

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The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at [email protected].