BUIES CREEK - More than 1,200 students and faculty were informed of a stand-off between a potentially armed student and Harnett County deputies in an on-campus house on Nov. 9, just minutes after Campbell University officials learned of the situation.
Thousands more received word via social networks and word-of-mouth soon after.
News of a campus lockdown spread quickly and efficiently thanks to University’s e2campus system, which told students to stay in their residence halls and classrooms during the course of the incident.
The campus remained on lockdown for just over three hours until deputies negotiated the peaceful surrender of 24-year-old Jared Dale Knight, who rented a home on Dr. McKoy Drive just across from the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business. According to Dennis Bazemore, Vice President for Student Life, the decision to issue the lockdown was made by himself and Director of Campus Safety Lt. Tim Lloyd minutes after they learned Knight had evaded deputies during a routine arrest and locked himself in his room.
“We rushed to the scene and within a minute, I contacted (administrative assistant) Jennifer Brown, and she typed in the lockdown notice and sent it,” Bazemore said. “Based on the deputies’ report and how serious we thought the situation was, we feel like we made the right decision.”
Campbell University has used the e2campus system for four years, Bazemore said, notifying students of weather-related cancellations or storm warnings and of a campus-wide power outage a few years ago. Bazemore said the Nov. 9 incident was the first “potential crisis” that merited using the communications system, which before Nov. 9, was being used by more than 1,200 students and staff.
Since 5 p.m. when the lockdown ended, already more than 100 have registered for the alerts. Campbell students, faculty and staff can sign up for the alerts by vising blackboard.campbell.edu, logging in and clicking the “Campbell Alert System” link in the bottom left-hand corner of the site.
Bazemore said he was pleased with the system’s effectiveness.
“From the reports that I received, I was very happy with the way it worked,” he said.
Many who didn’t receive the alert learned quickly through Campbell’s Facebook and Twitter sites and Campbell University’s main website, all of which posted updates on the lockdown throughout the afternoon. Campbell’s Facebook page dispelled chatter that some believed the lockdown was part of the nation’s 2 p.m. emergency alert test.
While this was the first campus-wide lockdown in recent memory, Bazemore said the University was prepared thanks to two mock events in the past few years, one of which staged a hostage situation during a basketball game and the other which staged a hazardous chemical spill on campus.
“We have a critical incident team on campus, and many of us are involved,” Bazemore said. “We’ll be meeting soon to discuss the recent incident, and we’ll assess the entire event from that first phone call until the end of the day. We’re going to look at what went well and what we can improve on should we be faced with this again.”
Story: Billy Liggett, Assistant Director for Publications