As news began to spread about the shooting at a dorm on the campus of Texas A&M Commerce on Monday, a lot of local folks took to social media to express concerns. Situated just an hour from Sherman, Texas A&M Commerce, formerly known as East Texas State University, claims many local leaders among its alumni list.
One of those alumni leads the area’s community college.
“This tragic news really hit home today, both as an alumnus of A&M-Commerce and as a College President” GC President Jeremy McMillen said. “We’re all part of the higher education community, and we will come together to support the Lion Pride as needed.”
Details on exactly what happened at the Pride Rock housing complex in Commerce had yet to be released Monday afternoon. The news that had come out was hard to hear — two dead and one in the hospital. And, of course, the incident reminded everyone of the off campus incident at a party back in October when two people were killed and a number of others were injured.
But what exactly do incidents like those mean to the campuses of other colleges and community colleges throughout the area?
Grayson College Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Rhea Bermel said Monday that GC has a number of emergency response and preparedness plans that are reviewed regularly in preparation for events everyone hopes never happen at the college’s campuses in Denison and Van Alsytne.
“We conduct monthly tests of the emergency alert systems in addition to annual training on our chosen method of “Avoid. Deny. Defend.” A campus police “see something, say something” number is posted around campus and shared with visitors. A key group of leaders are undergoing extensive training through the National Incident Management Systems (conducted by FEMA) and will participate in a tabletop scenario later this spring,” Bermel said.
In an interview late last summer, GC Police Chief Kevin Nugent said the college’s students are urged to call the police if they see something that makes them uncomfortable. “We always follow up on those issues,” he said.
He said the campus does allow students who are licensed to carry a gun to do so on campus, and they have not had any problems with people who were licensed to carry for the past two years since the laws were changed to allow that activity. Monday, Bermel confirmed that there have been no incidents since Nugent gave that interview.