Student-Organized Active Shooter Workshop Held


Kaitlyn Tambasco, Assistant News Editor 

On Nov. 9, in the Economic Crime and Justice Studies building, an active shooter response workshop was held.

The workshop was open to all students, faculty, and staff and was divided into two sections. One section of the workshop was lecture-based with Emergency Management Director Shad Crowe, and the other was more hands-on with senseis Thomas Arcuri and Lawrence Brooks.

The event was in response to a research project that is being done by students Rebecca Bruce and Sara Gribanoff for a sociology class. They wanted to explore different confidence levels in active shooter situations.

Gribanoff and Bruce tested this before the workshop began by giving out surveys to the participants. The workshop was completely voluntary and participants in this study had the right to leave at any time. Gribanoff covered the lecture-base group, while Bruce worked with the hands-on group.

When the participants arrived at the study, they chose to be in either Gribanoff or Bruce’s group, not knowing what each entailed.

“We had a great turnout and our numbers were perfect,” Bruce said. “Everyone engaged in the workshop and it was all done in a safe environment.”

Both Gribanoff and Bruce described the workshop as a wake-up call.

“We realized how little the participants knew,” Gribanoff said. “The first year students were not here during the lockdown that occurred in March, so they really didn’t have a lot to relate it to, unless they found themselves in a similar situation before attending here.”

Both workshops focused on taking control of a situation and not waiting for someone else to step up and do it. The phrase, “If not you, then who?” was also used.

“The surveys after the workshop was completed showed growth,” Bruce said. “We hope that this workshop taught leadership and the participants gained confidence on what to do if they ever find themselves in an active shooter situation.”

Gribanoff and Bruce also agreed that it is better to prepare for the worst and not hope for the best when it comes to a hostile situation, such as an active shooter event.

“This is real,” Gribanoff said. “It’s not something that you just see on the news.”

Assistant Professor of Sociology Richard Duque played a key part in this workshop as well. He described that after the workshop there was a change in knowledge and a more accurate understanding.

Duque added that research has shown that mass shootings have increased and homicides have decreased. He commented that research does not have deadlines and that when facts are gathered they are backed up.

“There are around 300 million guns on the streets,” Duque said. “In addition, depending on the type of gun, 180 shots can be shot in three minutes, and that’s a problem.”

Emergency Management Director Shad Crowe added that, in both areas of the workshop, participants were presented the concepts of “confidence is courageous” and “force in numbers,” as well as the importance of planning, if possible, prior to engaging in a physical altercation with an armed assailant.

“I believe this was a new and unique approach to active shooter training here at Utica College,” Crowe said. “To my knowledge, training, and instruction, specifically like this, hasn’t been attempted here in the past.”  

Crowe also thanked Duque, Gribanoff, and Bruce for spearheading this event.

“From the emergency management perspective, there can never be enough practice, training and awareness conversation,” Crowe said. “Sarah and Rebecca, with the assistance of professor Duque, without a doubt, have made Utica College just a little bit safer and informed through this well-executed training event study.”