While UTC officials review Wednesday threat, classes are learning from it
UTC officials are assessing their response on Wednesday to reports of an armed man on campus and some professors are modeling Thursday’s lesson plans after the incident.
READ MORE | UPDATE: UTC officials respond to shooter scare
This comes after the university received criticism from both parents and students about their response efforts to the man, who ultimately, was identified as an off-duty Chattanooga Police Officer headed home after his shift.
"We always re-evaluate our processes and our procedures after any incident,” Executive Director of Emergency Services Robie Robinson.
Criticisms included the university’s decision not to place all of campus on lockdown.
UTC’s Chancellor Dr. Steven Angle responded to those criticisms with a statement saying in part:
“In retrospect, we should have locked down the campus when the report came in of a possible suspicious person in Fletcher Hall and Chattanooga Police responded in force. We will review the decisions that were made and decide if our assessment process is adequate.”
But school administrators weren’t the only group reviewing the incident. Professors like Jim Tanner in UTC’s School of Communication are also using it as a lesson for journalism students.
"I was hearing the same rumors you got but I didn't share anything until I walked down and I hear the police chief because that's a source that I can trust,” he told students in his media class Thursday.
A lack of trust from parents on the university’s decision not to cancel classes for the day also prompted conversations about policy change.
"What we didn't consider in that decision was the emotional impact and what it appeared to be, so we heard that and we'll modify our procedures in the future accordingly,” Robinson told Channel 3.
Tanner, who allowed Channel 3 to sit in on a lecture, says his biggest concern was talking with students about how social media influenced some of the misinformation.
“It fits with what we talk about as far as far as journalists, as far as sifting out good information from bad," he explained.
Now both Dr. Angle and Robinson say they’re working to improve their threat response plan for future incidents.
“When we look at our society and what people have seen and what is going on otherwise we do have to recognize that and I think we need to err on the side of making people feel safe," Robinson continued.
Tanner says he’s hoping his students and other consumers of media will do the same.
There was also some concern from parents about policy surrounding officers carrying their gear while off duty.
A CPD spokesperson told Channel 3 there is no policy for officers on how to carry items from a car into a residence, but there is one for removing a firearm from a vehicle.
Elisa Myzal with the department says that the officer did follow CPD policy.