San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State is ill-prepared for an on-campus shooting

San Diego State isn’t prepared for an active shooter situation. In fact, most college campuses across the nation aren’t. 

That’s terrifying considering the Gun Violence Archive has recorded at least 581 mass shootings in the U.S. alone this year as of Nov. 4. The archive has also recorded over 35,000 gun-related deaths in the country this year. 

Generation Z, who make up 66% of all college students in the U.S., has witnessed  hundreds of shootings throughout their time in school. From Sandy Hook, Parkland and Uvalde, these tragedies seem neverending for the generation that spent time in school hiding under desks and learning to stay silent in between learning the ABCs and multiplication. 

Gun violence is a real issue, which affects real human lives at the end of the day. It has affected the lives of those closest to me.

— Eugènie Budnik

Unfortunately, school shootings do not just exist in K-12. Everytown for Gun Safety reported 244 incidents of gun violence on secondary education campuses from 2013-2021. SDSU faced a tragic act of gun violence in 1996 when a master’s student shot and killed three professors in retaliation for a negative thesis evaluation. 

More recently, a man was shot while leaving a Halloween house party in the College area. Earlier this year, police recovered a ghost gun from a student-hosted house party and when a student was robbed at gunpoint in daylight.

Incidents like these are something I think about every time I enter any public space, and it’s not just because of paranoia or hypervigilance. Gun violence is a real issue, which affects real human lives at the end of the day. It has affected the lives of those closest to me. My older sister lost one of her closest friends, AJ Boik, in the 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. When I came back to live in the U.S. after living in the U.K., the reality of gun violence became front and center again.

So, I joined March for Our Lives San Diego, a chapter of the gun violence prevention (GVP) organization that was founded by Parkland students first as secretary and then as co-director. In this role, my team and I were out in the field almost daily providing crisis relief to communities struck by gun violence across San Diego County. 

Raquel Herriott, San Diego State University Police Department’s public information officer emailed in a statement that “although the SDSU active shooter safety presentation and video are not required, we encourage students, faculty and staff to review these options each semester.”

She also noted the university police department does have a Threat Management Team. 

According to Herriott, the team is “composed of officers, detectives, and subject-matter experts who undergo specialized training in behavioral threat assessment,” her statement reads. “The team’s goal is to identify individuals who may pose a threat to themselves and/or others.”

For students, faculty and staff, active shooter training is optional. Campus groups, organizations and departments can request an hour-long in-person training from UPD’s Community Resource Officer and can view the university’s 11 minute active-shooter training video

While it is reassuring to know that our university police department actively trains for active shooter situations, it is still alarming that this training is optional for students as there may not be a police officer available during a moment of crisis.

When students choose to pay tuition to attend SDSU, they choose to put their trust in the university and the fact that they will be kept safe. In Regents of the University of California v. Superior Court (2018), the California Supreme Court held that colleges and universities have a special relationship with enrolled students that requires warning or protection from identifiable risks. SDSU has a moral and legal obligation to uphold this responsibility of keeping all students safe. 

Safety should be the top priority in all classrooms on campus, but in her statement, Herriott also said that “some classrooms contain access control systems and fire extinguishers.” Some classrooms, but not all. And this is where SDSU has its priorities wrong.

Because SDSU has the ability to spend $310 million to build the brand new Snapdragon stadium, the university should consider allocating funds to making sure that all university classrooms and buildings have modern and robust security features like access control systems, steel doors, attack-resistant door knobs, self-locking doors and active shooter survival first aid kits. 

And, while they’re at it, SDSU could allocate more funds to campus counseling and psychological services to ensure that all students who are in need of help can get the proper mental health help that they deserve. When it comes to mass shootings, there are almost always warning signs shown by perpetrators. Having adequate mental health resources on campus can ensure that warning signs are caught and intervened before the unthinkable happens. 

SDSU recently released a mobile app focused on campus safety with features such as an anonymous reporting form, an emergency button, and others. This is a commendable act, but it is the bare minimum. 

In a statement about the SDSU Safe app, University President Adela de la Torre said “The safety and security of our community and campus are paramount.”

Well, President de la Torre, what are YOU doing to protect SDSU students before the unthinkable happens right on your campus?

Correction: An earlier version of this post did not properly depict the university’s perspective. Information about the university’s Threat Management Team was added for clarity. 

About the Contributor
Eugènie Budnik
Eugènie Budnik, '24-25 News Editor, '23-24 News Editor
Eugenie Budnik is currently obtaining her MA in Mass Communication and Media Studies from San Diego State University. Eugenie graduated from San Diego State University with a BA of Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising in Spring 2024. As an ex-military child, Eugenie spent time growing up in Japan, England, Colorado and San Diego. Eugenie joined The Daily Aztec in 2021, when she was originally an elementary education major. Eugenie's time spent reporting on news for The Daily Aztec developed her love and passion for journalism, ultimately leading her to change her major. Since then, Eugenie has written over 50 pieces for The Daily Aztec and is now serving as the news editor for the second year in a row. Outside of her work, you can find Eugenie jamming out to Taylor Swift, reading, or scrolling through Tik Tok.
Activate Search
San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
San Diego State is ill-prepared for an on-campus shooting