On the first day back from Spring Break, Ball State University students received emergency alerts about a man on campus with a gun.
Ball State University Police received a call from a student Monday morning. She told officers she was walking to class near Bracken Library when she thought she saw a man holding a gun.
As officers searched for a man who matched the description, students began receiving emergency text alerts and emails. One text message read, “Man with gun seen north of bracken library a short time ago. Avoid the area. Secure in a safe place. Visit www.bsu.edu for updated information.”
Joan Todd, who is the executive director of public relations with BSU, said they issued alerts to students immediately.
“We relayed ‘secure in place’ and we did explain in freshman orientation and through various safety information brochures what that means. And that means (students need to) find a safe location and stay there until notified that there’s an ‘all clear’,” Todd said.
BSU senior, Kayleigh Mohler, said she lives off campus.
“I was just really kind of confused because they didn’t say whether or not we should go to our 9 o’clock classes or if we were supposed to stay where we were, if there was a lockdown or anything like that,” Mohler said.
Mohler contacted her friends who were on campus.
“I didn’t want to come on campus when people in the classes on campus were being locked down so, I decided I definitely shouldn’t leave or anything like that.”
Officers searched on and around campus for two hours. They did not find a man with a gun. BSU Director of Public Safety, Gene Burton, said it is possible it could have been something else.
“It was dark this morning. (That) part of campus where she was (does not have) the best lighting. There’s ample lighting, but isn’t daylight,” Burton said.
Students were issued another notice once detectives finished searching campus.
The message said, “All clear. Return to normal activities/schedule. Following their standard protocols, University Police have searched and secured the campus.”
“To me as a student, I don’t really think that (made) me feel any safer about the fact that they took an hour and a half. What can I do? I guess,” BSU sophomore Blane Smith said.
Some students said they did not receive emails from the university, as the situation unfolded. Fox59 spoke with students who said they were not satisfied with the information on the alerts.
“I think there’s a problem that needs to be figured out with the consistency of these emails and text messages,” BSU student Royce Redmond said.
The university sent everyone an email. Todd said she was unsure why some students did not get it because everyone should have. On the other hand, students have to sign up for text alerts. The university also updated their digital signs and their website.
“We do give students a tremendous amount of safety information and obviously our number one priority is keeping students on campus as safe as possible,” Todd said.
University police officers plan to continue to investigate. If anyone has any information, contact (765) 285-1111.
“No one wants to take a chance, if you take a call like that seriously. We investigated it thoroughly. We’re confident the campus was safe. So, we resumed normal activities,” Burton said.