A 2020 internal audit at the University of North Carolina’s flagship campus — the location of two gun-related lockdowns this academic year — recommended the school consider requiring faculty and staff be trained in how to respond to an active shooter.

Although UNC-Chapel Hill’s police department offers such training when it's asked for, the school hasn't implemented it broadly, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

Some students questioned the school’s communication, preparedness and staff response following the Aug. 28 shooting death of a researcher who police say was killed in a campus building by a graduate student now charged with first-degree murder.

The internal audit, completed in May 2020, included five recommendations for improving safety and security before, during and after a shooting, or when an “armed intruder” is identified. One recommendation was for faculty and staff instruction for such emergencies, which could be added to other new-hire training.

In response to the audit, the university said at the time it would act on all of the recommendations by the end of the 2020, either completing them or by taking steps to review them. But there is still no required emergency training for faculty, according to the UNC-Chapel Hill media relations office.

University spokesperson Erin Spandorf said the Office of Internal Audit and the associate vice chancellor for campus safety and risk management have been tracking progress on the audit’s recommendations since 2020. The school didn’t address specific questions from the newspaper about why the training component has not been implemented.

“The recommendations remain in an open status, with noted progress,” Spandorf said in an email.

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz told the school’s Faculty Council last month that the university would assess further training options.

“I know that not everyone felt as prepared as they may have wanted to, and no system and no response is perfect,” Guskiewicz said.

Training is required for university staff “who have defined roles in our campus emergency response plans,” said Darrell Jeter, UNC’s director of emergency management and planning.

UNC-Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian James told the newspaper last month that it’s “absolutely best practice to have as many people trained as we possibly can,” but said mandating that is up to university leadership.

The audit noted that when the university’s Campus Health Department requested and held training, only 20 of its 100-plus employees attended.

Erin Siegal McIntyre, a professor in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, organized a voluntary training for faculty following the Aug. 28 shooting.

Siegal McIntyre said the 90-minute session in mid-September was attended by about 30 people. It included tips on how to best barricade a classroom during an active shooter situation.

“We’re still not optimized for an efficient response in a variety of ways that were discussed during this training,” Siegal McIntyre said.

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