More than a week after a shooting left 10 people dead, students returned to classes at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Monday and found a heavily secured campus with state troopers, Douglas County sheriff’s deputies and “comfort dogs” patrolling the grounds.
Interim college president Rita Cavin said the focus on Monday was helping students return to as normal a campus scene as possible, The Eugene Register-Guard reports. She said it was too soon to talk about security issues or policy changes at the college related to the Oct. 1 slayings.
The college has a “gun-free zone” policy and its public safety officers are not armed with guns. Since the shooting, some gun rights advocates have argued that “gun-free” zones as ineffective and said if people on campus had been armed, the shooter might have been killed more quickly. Others have countered that if people on campus had been armed, even more people might have been killed or injured.
Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, an Umpqua student, opened fire in a classroom in Snyder Hall on Oct. 1. He killed an instructor and eight students and wounded nine others. The heavily armed gunman committed suicide after being wounded during an exchange of gunfire with police.
Cavin said Snyder Hall would not be used for classes, at least in the immediate future.