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Students Angry At Penn State After No Alert Sent For State College Shooting

Update 12:35 p.m.: Penn State is now changing its earlier statement saying the PSU Alerts system only included incidents in locations required by the Clery Act.

The new statement explains that Penn State Police decide whether to send an action alert on a case-by-case basis. It was decided that an alert would not be sent last night “after careful consideration based on the circumstances known to law enforcement at the time, location of the incidents, and the lack of an imminent threat to Penn State students or the campus”

Read the full statement below:

We understand that the tragic events that occurred last night may have instilled fear and concern in members of the campus community. We are deeply saddened by the senseless acts of violence that have occurred and our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

University police, working with State College police, were monitoring the rapidly unfolding off-campus incident. After careful consideration based on the circumstances known to law enforcement at the time, location of the incidents, and the lack of an imminent threat to Penn State students or the campus, it was decided that an alert would not be sent.

The decision to send an action alert is made on a case-by-case basis for each situation, and is based on information available to Penn State Police at the time of the event. We always review our responses to these incidents and will adjust our processes as needed.

Update 8:07 a.m.: Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the PSU Alerts system only includes incidents in “Clery-reportable locations,” which would include the following:

  1. On campus (with slight reporting distinctions for on campus student housing)
  2. On public property within or immediately adjacent to the campus
  3. In or on non-campus buildings or property that your college owns or controls

“The safety of our students is a top priority at Penn State. Our thoughts are with those in the State College community impacted by this tragedy,” Powers said via email. “State College Police responded to the shooting in the borough last night as it was not on Penn State’s campus. The alert system includes incidents that are within Clery-reportable locations. Nevertheless, we understand our community concerns and the University will continue to review processes.”

Update 1:09 a.m.: Nearly two hours later, Penn State has (finally) acknowledged that something happened in State College.

Original story: More than an hour has passed since news broke about a fatal shooting at the Ramada Hotel in State College, and Penn State has yet to send any alert to students about the incident or advising. Many students have voiced their frustration about the lack of communication — especially after the university issued what some are calling an unnecessary early dismissal alert Thursday afternoon.

We will update this post with additional tweets as they are posted.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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