The University of Wisconsin System Commission on University Security met Wednesday to discuss its plans to address campus safety and emergency preparedness.
Exactly one week after the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech, UW System President Kevin Reilly appointed UW-Madison Police Chief Sue Riseling to head the commission, which has since grown to include 18 people from all aspects of university life, including two student representatives.
Riseling said the commission looked at the Virginia Tech shooting and, given the information now available, is working through the issues that tragedies may present.
"The commission is looking at how to prevent something like this," Riseling said. "And if you are unsuccessful in preventing this, what is the best and most appropriate response to do with the aftermath of it?"
Riseling said the challenge for the commission is how to prevent and respond to something as tragic as a Virginia Tech situation, given that there are 26 different institutions represented throughout the UW System.
"The resources and methods are different per campus," Riseling said. "It is a fairly complex undertaking and very intense, but people on the commission are engaged in the issues and creativity is following."
2007-08 Associated Students of Madison Chair Gestina Sewell said that from her personal experience, she expected the issue of security would be addressed after such a tragedy.
"It is weird to know it can happen on a campus," Sewell said. "It is great the commission is trying to make plans to discuss safety and hopefully prevent something from happening here."
Sewell said one thing she would like to see the commission address is a communication system that could stretch to all borders where students live. Currently, Sewell said if something were to happen at UW, students might not know where the danger was or where not to go.
In addition, Swell said she is concerned about why events like this happen and would like the commission to tackle the social issues behind such tragedies.
"We need to understand why students would carry out such an action," Sewell said. "It lies in the fact of how we treat each other."
Riseling, who will make a presentation regarding safety and security to the Board of Regents today, said the commission would come up with their recommendations by June 30. The commission would then present their final suggestions to the Board of Regents at their July 12 meeting.
Riseling added the campuses would then have a chance to look at the security issues and respond to some of than before the beginning of the fall semester.