Morgan State University is planning to build a security wall around almost all of its campus in northeast Baltimore after a recent shooting resulted in five people being injured during the school’s annual homecoming festivities.
In addition to constructing the wall, leaders of the school said they would be stationing some security personnel at both the exits and entrances.
During a recent town hall event at the school, President David Wilson said that the new wall would simply extend barriers that are currently up by roughly 8,000 feet. When completed, it will encircle 90% of the school and also effectively “eliminate unfettered access.”
As the president of the historically Black college said to the auditorium filled with staff, faculty and students:
“We’re doing this, let me be clear, not to keep out our neighbors and our community at large; we are doing it to keep out the bad actors.”
The shooting happened at the university on October 3, following the coronation festivities for Miss and Mister Morgan State. The shooting happened as students were going from the auditorium to the campus’ student center, as a coronation ball was set to start there.
Afterward, school leaders canceled all remaining homecoming festivities and classes for the rest of that week.
University officials have since been grappling with how to keep their students safe as gun violence is becoming more commonplace throughout the country.
At the town hall meeting that was held on Tuesday, Wilson and some other school leaders faced various questions from attendees not about the plan to construct the wall, but what officials believe they could have done to prevent the October 3 shooting from ever happening.
Following the shooting, school officials put the campus on lockdown. Students were also told to shelter in place, as officials at first thought there was a threat of an active shooter.
An arrest hasn’t been made in the case just yet. However, Baltimore police released surveillance footage of some people of interest in the case, requesting help from the public in identifying those people.
Police have said that they think two shooters were involved in the incident, which stemmed from a dispute.
All five victims were students of Morgan State, and police say they believe all weren’t likely intended targets. The five victims were released from hospitals last week.
At the town hall event, school officials said there were significant security upgrades that were underway before the shooting happened. Following the shooting, there is much more urgency to move forward with the additional security upgrades.
Morgan State said that they would be building the wall, but there are also other potential upgrades in the works. That includes having more metal detectors at campus buildings, looking into technology that could detect weapons, increasing patrols of police and security officials, and constructing more booths for security guards.
Wilson said that the university expects the total cost of the security projects to reach $22 million.