We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the situation that dominated campus on Thursday: a precautionary lockdown in response to a situation just northeast of the college.
An email Thursday afternoon from Dean of Students Christina Klawitter offered the nuts and bolts of the situation, and the reasoning behind the college’s response:
“At about 12:30 p.m. today, the college’s security office learned that an individual (believed to be armed) was in the vicinity of 920 Park Ave., about a block off campus. As a result of that alert, Beloit College immediately issued a voluntary lock down of the campus.
Thankfully, the suspect, who had been involved in a domestic dispute, was taken into custody by the Beloit Police at about 3:10 p.m. inside 920 Park. An 'all clear' message was then issued to the Beloit College community at 3:14 p.m.”
(See the full text of Dean Klawitter’s message here.)
Despite the tense situation, the students, staff, and others pictured here in the basement of 609 during the lockdown managed to stay in good spirits. (Photo courtesy of Roger Haugen)
Update: A press release issued by the Beloit Police Department says that no firearm was recovered during today's arrest. A police spokesman also told the local press that the college was not believed to be in any danger, but given the proximity to campus was acting "with caution."
Regional media reports repeated many of these details throughout the day as the college’s communications officers (Hilary Dickinson and Jason Hughes) answered calls about the college’s status and response.
Among the details they shared was word that the college’s emergency alert system is three years old and, outside of two tornado warning alerts, rarely used. It has only been utilized twice for non-tests: today and two years ago to circulate a single awareness alert.
Also a hot question from reporters: “How is everyone feeling?” When fielding that one, the two say they often referred members of the media to Twitter. “That’s what we were watching,” says Jason Hughes, director of communications and marketing. (Search the site to see some of the more prominent posts; the photo below was courtesy of the twitter feed of Beloit student @pax_cat, who spent the lockdown in the World Affairs Center.)
Emergency Communication Feedback Forum
As a result of Thursday’s events, on Monday (Feb. 25) from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Moore Lounge of Pearsons, there will be a campus-wide open forum, in which Klawitter, Assistant Director of Security Bruce Heine, and other members of the emergency communications team will discuss Thursday’s lockdown and the college’s emergency-alert procedures. Come one, come all.