BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – Students at Simon Fraser University are taking to social media to express their frustration with the school’s communication after a man was arrested for allegedly carrying a replica gun on campus.
Police received reports Tuesday afternoon of a man carrying a gun, believed to be wearing clothing with a police crest. The suspect was arrested and parts of the university were evacuated, but students say they weren’t told.
From “I heard from reddit first,” to “This is unacceptable and handled very poorly.” There were dozens of scathing comments on social media in response to SFU’s Twitter post acknowledging the incident, which said it had been resolved and everyone was safe.
How is it that only half the school is evacuated. There are police walking around with rifles drawn and helicopters on site. Most of these students have no idea what is going on and if they are even safe! No info is given at the office? Who is in charge of emergency and safety?
— Tara Ames (@TaraLynAmes1973) October 8, 2019
One person resonded: “Comprehensive university but can’t even communicate to students or release a statement about yesterday’s incident. Something needs to happen with your alert and communications policies.”
Another said during the incident: “There are police walking around with rifles drawn and helicopters on site. Most of these students have no idea what is going on and if they are even safe! No info is given at the office? Who is in charge of emergency and safety?”
Another posted: “No notifications on the SFU snap app, no ‘stay away’ tweet? This is the sort of thing we would like to know about in real time.”
One even said she had to find out there was a threat when six officers with rifles walked past her.
Many said they believed the situation was handled poorly and more needs to be done to communicate emergency situations to students and others on campus.
Mark Lalonde, Chief Safety Officer at SFU, says the school sent out a message on Tuesday evening to students, faculty and staff.
“When there is a police incident at an SFU campus, SFU Safety Risk Services supports and takes direction from the RCMP/police who are leading the response. All of these groups work together to ensure the safety of our community,” he says. “As a situation evolves details are not always clear. We try to share information as it is confirmed, and when and where it is appropriate and safe to do so. When a campus wide notification is needed I want to assure you that we have notification systems in place, but it is also important to note that it is not always safe to send out an alert as a situation is in progress.”
He encourages those who were impacted by the incident to contact the school’s mental health services for support.