Following the campus shooting during its homecoming, Morgan State University President David Wilson announced the school’s “plan to build a wall around most of the northeast Baltimore campus,” NBC News reports. Security personnel will be stationed at every entrance and exit to the school.
Wilson relayed the news at a campus town hall, stating “We’re doing this, let me be clear, not to keep out our neighbors and our community writ large; we are doing it to keep out the bad actors.”
The wall isn’t an entirely new concept—the new additions would be an extension to the already existing fencing. Approximately 60% of the campus is already enclosed, and this “has been in the works for decades,” per Blavity. The new plans would increase that number to 90% with an 8,000 feet addition, with hopes to “eliminate unfettered access.”
The October 3, shooting at the HBCU left five people injured, with four of the individuals being students. Fortunately, all of the victims have been released from the hospital. But the act of violence has caused university officials to contend with how to keep students safe on campus amidst the ever-present threat of gun violence.
Meanwhile, the manhunt continues for the second at-large suspect Jovan Williams. According to Fox News, “U.S. Marshals are engaged in an interstate fugitive hunt for an 18-year-old man who is considered ‘armed and dangerous.’”
Williams has already been charged with attempted first-degree murder in addition to other charges related to the university shooting by the District Court of Maryland.
The other 17-year-old suspect was arrested last week in Washington D.C. and has been booked and charged with attempted murder on multiple accounts.
In the wake of this tragedy, the Morgan State University police union sent an 11-page letter to university leaders. Issues addressed include this shooting as well as others that have occurred nearby, and is requesting a through “re-evaluation of the campus police department’s approach to safety.”
Lance Hatcher, Chief of Police for the university, has been criticized for his “misrepresentation” with regard to a shortage in staff and vehicles. A letter says that “only four active vehicles [are] available for patrol officers, two of these vehicles are in constant need of maintenance.”
“The absence of radio access for MSUPD patrol officers to Baltimore City police and other local agencies proved to be a significant obstacle to coordinating responses effectively in real time,” the letter also goes on to state.
In response, Larry Jones, assistant vice president for public relations and strategic communications issued a written statement, “The university is committed to conducting a full investigation of all allegations pertaining to the MSUPD and its operations. In the interim, the University remains confident in the abilities of Morgan’s police department under the steady leadership of Chief Lance Hatcher.”
“We thank the members of the MSUPD for their untiring efforts to keep the Morgan community and our campus safe,” continued Jones.