Faculty discuss last Monday’s incident


Jen Hao Wong/Iowa State Daily

Sen. Loreto Prieto, professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences crossed with Disciplinary Studies, gave his opinion on the shooting case that happened on Central Campus on Nov. 12, at the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

Danielle Ferguson

The effects of the Nov. 4 car chase on campus continue to demand discussion from the Faculty Senate. 

During the senate’s meeting on Tuesday, a main topic was how the faculty were informed of the incident.

Veronica Dark, senate president, addressed the senate about the car chase and shots fired by Ames Police Nov. 4. She said faculty members who were in class had no way of being informed of the incident and therefore would not have known whether or not to release students from the classroom.

“The concern is there was no information available immediately to faculty who had students in the classroom,” Dark said. “We had a situation where faculty in classrooms were seeking information, but no information was available.”

Dark said some faculty members found out there had been a shot fired because a student who either received a text message or saw a tweet informed the instructor. If the instructor went to Iowa State’s website, he or she would not have seen any information.

Concerns with the efficiency of ISU Alert were part of the discussion regarding the incident on Central Campus. According to the ISU website, “the ISU Alert system will quickly alert Iowa State University students, faculty and staff of potentially dangerous situations.” An alert was not immediately sent out.

By the time the ISU Alert was sent out, the incident was over and there was no more danger. Dark said discussion included whether or not to even use ISU Alert. The police were in the position to make the decision on whether or not to use the alert system.

“Police knew immediately after the shooting that there was no ongoing threat,” Warren Madden, senior vice president of business and finance, said in a release statement. “They needed to know what happened before they could tell you what to do about it. That takes time. It isn’t a failure of the ISU Alert system … It would have done no good to provide students, faculty and staff with an incomplete ISU Alert message, such as “shots fired,” with no actionable steps.”

Dark had a discussion with Madden, Jerry Stewart, director of public safety, and Miles Lackey, associate vice president, on Friday about why information wasn’t at least posted.

Dark shared some of this discussion with the senate. She said a suggestion on shortening the time between an incident and the time when information is released was made and the senate will have presence on the review committee.

“I’m not sure whether my thoughts are appropriately said now,” said Sen. Loreto Prieto, capturing the attention of those in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

Referring to a policy with the Ames Police Department that says they are allowed to conduct high speed chases on campus, Prieto questioned whether that policy is a good one.

“Maybe the discussion of whether we allow our external police force here in the city to come in and engage in [a] high speed chase … whether or not that itself creates danger,” Prieto said. “This committee needs to consider all of the bigger picture, not just the ISU Alert system.”

There was no open further discussion on this topic; however, Dark said she was glad this was brought forward.

Dark did not know when the review committee will meet or when decisions of who will be on the committee will be made.