Director of Campus Safety and Security, Susan Wagshul-Golden, discusses UWT’s shooter protocol:

Q: Are firearms allowed at UWT?

No. Generally, possession or use of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals or other dangerous weapons or instrumentalities on university premises… is prohibited unless prior written approval has been obtained from the university chief of police, or any other person designated by the president of the university (see WAC 478-124-020 (2) (e)). Q: Do security officers carry guns? No. We do have Tacoma Police officers that work with our department on our campus who are armed.

Q: Do we have a set of plans for an active shooter? If so, what are they?

Yes. UWT recognizes the potential danger of a violent intruder….The Campus Safety & Security Department will coordinate a multiagency response plan with Pierce County Emergency Management, [the] Tacoma Police and Fire Department[s], and UW Leadership to create a unified command structure. An emergency notification will be activated instructing our community and neighbors of the situation and next steps.

Q: Are staff trained in these situations?

Yes. Our Workplace Violence Prevention and Response training is required of all employees every two years. For those who have not yet participated in the training, the next workshops are scheduled for Oct. 23rd and Oct. 30th, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, in Keystone 102.

Q: Is there any mechanism or system in place for identifying troubled students before they act violently?

Emergency Situations If you are in contact with a student who appears to be an immediate threat to his or her own safety or that of others, call 911. Non-Emergency Situations If the student does not pose an immediate threat to self or others, but exhibits behavior revealing a potential for harm, you can make a referral in one of the following ways:
• SafeCampus: 253-692-SAFE
• Student of Concern: concern@ or 253-692-4801
• Campus Safety & Security: 253-692-4888

Q: What should students do if there’s a shooting on campus?

If an armed suspect(s) is discharging a firearm at community members or law enforcement or randomly firing into an area where it is reasonably expected that persons could be struck by suspect fire… law enforcement [will] take immediate action to end the danger. The information below provides guidelines for active shooter incidents on campus. However, every incident varies, making it impossible to provide an absolute answer for every situation.

In a classroom or office:
• Stay put and secure the doors.
• If the door has no lock and the door opens in, a heavy door wedge should be kept on hand and driven in as hard as you can, or use heavy furniture to barricade the door.
• If the door has a window, cover it if you can. Depending on the shooter’s location, consideration may also be made to exit through windows. Have someone watch the door as you get as many students out the windows (ground floor) as calmly and quietly as possible.
• Stay out of sight from doors and windows and keep quiet.
• When officers arrive on scene, community members should attempt to move toward any police vehicle when safe to do so, while keeping their hands on top of their head. Follow the directions of the police.
• Do not leave the area entirely; you may have information that responding police officers will need. Once in a safe place, stay put. In hallways or corridors:
• If in the hallways, get inside a room and secure it. Unless you are close to an exit, do not run through a long hallway to get to an exit as you may encounter the shooter. Do not hide in restrooms. In large rooms or auditoriums:
• If in a gym or theater area and the shooter is not present, move to and out the exits and move toward any police unit keeping your hands on your head.

Open spaces:
• Stay alert and look for appropriate cover locations. Brick walls, large trees, retaining walls, parked vehicles, or any other object that may stop firearm ammunition penetrations may be used as cover.

Trapped with the shooter:
• If you are trapped, do not do anything to provoke the shooter. If no shooting is occurring, do what the shooter says and do not move suddenly. Only you can draw the line on what you will or will not do to preserve your life and the lives of others.
• If the shooter does start shooting people, you need to make a choice (at this point it is your choice): stay still and hope they do not shoot you, run for an exit while zigzagging, or attack the shooter. Attacking the shooter is very dangerous, but certainly no more so than doing nothing in some cases. A moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one and the last thing the shooter will expect is to be attacked by an unarmed person. Any option chosen may still result in a negative consequence. This is not a recommendation to attack the shooter but rather a choice to fight when there is no other option.

Final thoughts: Always notify the police department as soon as it is safe to do so. Call 911.

These safety tips and guidelines are not all inclusive, but if understood and followed up with periodic reminders and training when feasible, it can increase your chances of surviving an active shooter incident. To view videos on active shooter situations, please visit the Training Resources page on the Safe Campus website (

Q: Is there a text system or intercom system to inform the campus if this takes place?

Yes. There are internal and external public address speakers that would be activated to notify our campus community of this emergency and instructions of what to do. [There is also a] mass notification system called UW Alert [that] provides current information on campus closures and delays due to inclement weather and emergency situations.