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QU community on heightened alert
Quinnipiac University has joined the ranks of other colleges and universities across the nation in preparing for a possible terrorist attack.
John Twining, Chief of Security and Safety on campus said there is no specific threat against the university. He said that if terrorists wanted to fight, they would hit a military base or police station long before a university.
He explained that terrorists wish to cause the greatest amount of damage with the least amount of threat to themselves. “They don’t want to be killed,” he said.
In reference to what other local universities, such as Fairfield University and Sacred Heart, are doing to prepare for a possible assault, Twining said that “universities are trying to send the message they are prepared.”
For the first two days following the increase in the federal terror alert system from yellow to orange, gate coverage by security was doubled while campus security assessed what should be done to adequately protect the university community.
Since that point, security now calls and verifies appointments with professors and other members of the Quinnipiac community before permitting individuals to enter the campus.
Twining stressed that “this is still a university and we don’t want it to become an armed camp.”
He expressed the concern of the entire security department but said that anyone with negative intentions “should notice the security and perhaps go elsewhere.”
Twining said, “If you stop doing your normal routine, the terrorists will have won.”
He advised that students should “do what [they would] normally do but be vigilant.”
To start the process of vigilance, notices were sent out to the employees of several departments including facilities and security.
Twining advises students to “become more aware of their surroundings” as well as getting to know their peers better. “If they see something odd, they should report it to security immediately…by calling extension 6200,” he said.
He reminds students that security “is here to serve students, faculty and staff” and it is better to have a false alarm than miss a potential clue that something is about to happen. He said that students must “remember that there are some bad people here and they must be prepared.”
On a more positive note, Twining said, “Quinnipiac is a safe place.”
In fact, he reports that last year, the university was one of the top 13 safest universities in the nation. However, he added, “no place is crime free.”
Quinnipiac currently has a crisis management team made up of various faculty and staff members around campus. There is a basic operational plan in place to have people come together and know exactly what to do is case of a disaster — natural or intentional. Further, the university is currently “in the process of making specific plans” for any number of wide-scale disasters.
However, more than anything else, Twining stresses that the most can be done by students on a local level. He advises all students to keep their doors locked.
Above all, Twining said, “This is a nice school to go to and a nice place to live.”