Anonymous Report of Person with Gun Causes Campus Lockdown

On April 19, at 4:07 p.m. students received a message from DPS informing them that a “person with a gun” was on campus and that a lockdown had begun. 

The email that went out a minute later informed students that “DPS has received an anonymous report of a person with a gun in the area of Morgan Hall. Anyone with information is asked to contact Public Safety immediately. Campus Lockdown is going into effect at this time.”

At 4:30, students received an email saying “The lockdown has been lifted. The campus has been checked and is all clear.”

Dee Danser, Assistant Vice President, Compliance & Chief of Public Safety, said “Regarding the lockdown itself, I think it went fairly well. I know that it was upsetting for everyone involved, but based on the information we received we had to take measures to insure the safety of students, faculty and staff.”

Danser’s optimism does not seem to be shared by students. Sonyta Bun ’25 said “The lockdown was unexpected, and we weren’t prepared for it.” Andrew Garcia ’26 said “I feel the whole lockdown was both a success and a failure. I know plenty of individuals who ignored the notifications, assuming it was a drill, and continued with their day. There needs to be more communication from the college especially afterwards.” 

When talking about the original message, Victoria Abreu ’25 said “They sent an email but not everyone has access to their emails right away ‘cause some people don’t have the app on their phone and, some people just literally don’t check their emails. So in that sense: not the safest.”

Danser expressed concern that more students did not take the lockdown seriously, saying “While most people seemed to understand [to take the messages of lockdowns seriously], there were people who continued to go about their regular business during the lockdown. We were very fortunate the threat was false, but there is no need to put yourself in danger by ignoring emergency messages.”

Abreu also expressed concern about how quickly the Department of Public Safety (DPS) swept campus, saying “it doesn’t feel safe… the lockdown was probably 15-20 minutes, or it felt that short. This confuses  me because this major, potentially deathly event may be going on and it was over in 15 minutes.”

George Stroud, Vice President and Dean of Student Life, sent out an email to the student body at 5:17 p.m. informing students that “ This afternoon, we received unverified threats to a student on campus. We take all threats seriously, and officers from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) locked down the campus, reviewed surveillance video and searched campus. No individual was found.”

The Dickinsonian reached out to Stroud for further comment, but received no response.

Over a week later, on May 1, President John E. Jones sent out an email reminding students and staff of mental health resources available to them, and urging students to take red alerts seriously.