Editorial: Could we be trapped?

State Hornet Staff

The events of Sept. 11 and subsequent anthrax scares?including one at Sacramento State that turned out to be false–combined with the traditional flood threat in the Sacramento valley, highlight the need for the University to adopt an effective evacuation policy.It hasn?t.

If the University does have an evacuation plan, officials have kept silent about it ? in spite of our many requests for information. In other words, if disaster should strike, only a handful of people will know how to coordinate an evacuation of thousands. This is further complicated by the fact that the University has only three road exits.

Understandably, evacuation plans in the hands of potential terrorists could assist them with their own plans. If this is truly the University?s concern, they should at least make sure that enough faculty know about the evacuation measures to implement them. To date, the University has relied on a small number of “marshals” in each building to go room by room informing classes of a potential danger and the need to evacuate. Essentially, hundreds of students and faculty are expected to wait patiently while a few university officials come to reveal the secret emergency plan. We believe the University must assure us that enough people know of the plan to implement it.

In the event of a natural threat, such as a flood or a fire, officials need not be so reticent. There should be posted evacuation plans and clearly marked emergency exits in every building.

The campus community has a right to know what officials are doing for our protection. Also, the University is obligated to adopt a plan that is effective. Based on the three-hour evacuation last September and the disturbing reticence on the part of our officials, the University has proven neither.

First, the University must get over the idea that a few faculty and administration “marshals” can act as Paul Reveres, rushing door to door to warn us of our potential doom. End the marshal system and take the time to inform all faculty of the evacuation plan. Second, the University must make its plans more public. An informed campus community is far less likely to panic in the face of danger.