Emily Adair | Editor-in-Chief
November 13, 2014; 7:30 p.m.
Although Lindenwood officials are prepared for potentially violent reaction to the upcoming grand jury decision regarding the police officer who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown, they said they do not expect to see such behavior on campus.
A grand jury could announce within days whether it will indict officer Darren Wilson. In one of two cautionary messages sent to students over the weekend, President James Evans noted the expectation of demonstrations in areas like downtown St. Louis and Ferguson, Missouri, due to “heated feelings on both sides of the matter.”
“I do not anticipate any danger on campus,” Evans said Tuesday. “My biggest safety concern is students and faculty who might be curious to go into the city to see what’s going on. They could be subjected to danger or arrest.”
Director of Public Safety and Security John Bowman said students and faculty who go off campus need to be alert and aware:
- Be observant
- Monitor protests that may happen in the Metropolitan area
- Avoid areas where protests are happening or may develop
- Pay attention to the news
- Listen to the radio
- Don’t believe everything you read on social media
Evans’s Nov. 9 message included some advice for students who will be on campus immediately after the grand jury announces its decision:
- Watch for and follow instructions from RAVE and email notices
- Watch for and avoid group commotion
- Report any instances of demonstration or disturbance to security— 636-949-4911
While they said they are confident Lindenwood’s main campus won’t see any danger, Evans said it is a possibility that they have to be prepared for.
In the event of a disturbance on campus, Evans said Lindenwood has a safety policy in place.
“If there are peaceful protests, we’re okay with that,” he said, “but if they turn ugly, we have a formal procedure we have developed for addressing protests on campus.”
Evans said Lindenwood has made arrangements to be in constant contact with the St. Charles Police Department immediately after the grand jury’s decision. He said there would also be more security on campus than usual.
Several of the security officers will work 12-hour shifts instead of the usual 8-hour shifts to allow for a bigger security presence, according to Bowman.
“That’s to increase the eyes and ears on campus looking for suspicious activity and possible demonstrations,” he said.
Although he couldn’t go into many details of the procedure, Bowman said there would be a police presence on campus if violent demonstrations occurred. The police would handle crowd control while LU security would act as support.
“We would start with the basics, just like if there’s a war,” Bowman said. “You don’t nuke the people first. We have steps in place that we would take before anything else.”