University officials address concerns, plans to expand on online emergency preparedness training

Officials at SUNY Oswego say they are working on providing more explanation to supplement the university’s new online emergency preparation training. The training instructs faculty to immediately lock the classroom door from the inside in a lockdown scenario. But many on-campus classrooms don’t easily lock from the inside, or don’t lock at all.

After the college’s spring break later this month, posters will be placed in classrooms to remind students, staff and faculty how to react in case of an emergency, according to University Police Chief Scott Swayze.

Swayze said faculty and students can use a variety of methods to barricade a classroom door if it doesn’t lock from the inside. They range from creating a barricade out of desks to using a belt, computer wires or body weight to hold a door shut.

“When we do in person trainings these are all discussed as alternatives to if a door doesn’t secure, a door doesn’t lock. We always encourage this,” Swayze said. “Through our awareness training that we do and some follow up training, you know, these are just some small things that we use to show some of the techniques that are out there.”

In the coming years, SUNY Oswego Vice President of Finance Victoria Furlong said locking doors may be less of a concern on the campus.

When construction on the new Hewitt Hall is complete in 2025, it will only be accessible by an ID card. This will give University Police the ability to remotely lock down specific rooms or wings of the building if needed.

Although there are no specific plans for it yet, Furlong said the university is hoping to expand keyless access to more on-campus buildings. 

 “That’s kind of an implementation feature in all of our major building renovations is to now ensure that it’s fully card access or fob access. Where there can be a little more control over the users that are ultimately allowed in different spaces within that particular building,” Furlong said.

Swayze and Furlong said the university also plans to introduce a new video series within the next year to demonstrate how to respond  in emergency situations in different spaces that are specific to the SUNY Oswego campus. 

Swayze encourages anyone with questions about emergency preparedness to email University Police at police@oswego.edu.