Following a recent shooting incident that left five individuals injured during homecoming celebrations, Morgan State University administrators unveiled plans to bolster campus security. The proposed measures include the construction of a security wall surrounding 90% of the campus in northeast Baltimore and the deployment of security personnel at entrances and exits.
The security wall, set to extend existing barriers by approximately 8,000 feet, aims to enhance campus safety by limiting unrestricted access, as explained by university President David Wilson during a campus town hall.
While significant security improvements were already in progress, the shooting incident has prompted an accelerated timeline for their implementation. Besides the security wall, potential upgrades encompass the installation of additional metal detectors within campus buildings, exploration of weapons detection technology, increased police patrols, and the construction of more security guard booths. The estimated total cost for these security enhancements exceeds $22 million.
Morgan State University has unfortunately experienced violence during past homecoming celebrations. In October 2022, a shooting occurred at an unsanctioned homecoming after-party on campus, and the year before, a freshman was arrested for shooting a classmate during homecoming weekend.
The university, with approximately 9,000 students, was founded in 1867 with an initial mission of training men for ministry. It later relocated to its current site in northeast Baltimore in 1917 and was acquired by the state of Maryland in 1939 to expand educational opportunities for Black citizens.
President Wilson commenced his presentation by emphasizing the university’s mission and values. He shared that he had spoken with the injured students, one of whom had a message of hope for the university community: “Today may look grim, but tomorrow is bright.” Wilson also pledged to reschedule the homecoming ball that was disrupted by the shooting.
He clarified that the security measures were not intended to exclude the neighboring community but rather to keep out individuals engaged in harmful activities.
In the aftermath of the October 3rd shooting, which occurred after a coronation ceremony for Mister and Miss Morgan State, the university canceled classes and homecoming activities for the remainder of the week. University officials are now grappling with how to ensure students’ safety in the face of growing gun violence concerns in American schools.
During the town hall meeting on Tuesday, President Wilson and others addressed numerous questions from students and staff regarding what could have been done to prevent the shooting. The incident unfolded as students were walking from an auditorium to the campus student center, where a coronation ball was scheduled to commence.
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Following the shooting, the campus was placed on lockdown, and students were advised to shelter in place. At first, police believed there was an active shooter threat. No arrests have been made, but Baltimore police have released surveillance images of individuals of interest and requested the public’s assistance in identifying them. Authorities believe the violence stemmed from a dispute involving two shooters and that the five victims, including four Morgan State students, were likely not the intended targets. All the victims were released from local hospitals last week.