UTC discusses school safety following UVA shooting

University's director of safety, students believe UTC is still a safe environment

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — The tragic deaths of three University of Virginia football players is still being felt nationwide, including on campus at UTC.

The players’ deaths have Charlottesville’s UVA community, as well as many nationwide mourning over the sudden loss.

In Chattanooga, UTC security officials are more than aware of how suddenly something shocking can occur.

And they are confident that should they ever need to respond, they’re ready.

Following the tragic deaths of UVA football players D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr., Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is in grief.

In the Tennessee Valley, UTC’s Bob Jackson says the school has not received any suspicious reports since Sunday night’s shooting in Charlottesville.

“If we hear anything from students, parents, employees or community members, ‘hey, I’ve got this concern about U-T-C,’ we’re on it super fast to make sure that we’re looking into it and [solving] any problems that might be out there,” Jackson said.

Jackson says he is confident in the school’s relationships with city partners and first responders, should there ever be a need to act.

He also believes students feel safe on campus, crediting UTC Police officials who consistently practice their schoolwide safety response — a practice they hope to never put to use.

“We get together every three months to practice a new scenario,” Jackson said. “Whether it’s a bus crash or someone of concern on campus, we’re always getting together [and] having conversations with all of those departments across campus to make sure all our staff are ready and our emergency services folks are geared up and have the tools they need.”

Some on UTC are still learning about Sunday night’s shooting.

A pair of local students say they both still feel safe on campus despite the incident, but couldn’t believe yet another one had occurred.

“I would say I feel safe for the most part,” one UTC student said. “I mean, there’s been a few incidents from the downtown Chattanooga environment. I don’t think that’s directly affected campus.”

“It’s a very unfortunate situation and confusing to me,” said Freshman William Lewis.

In the wake of the untimely deaths of the three men, the University of Virginia has canceled its previously scheduled home football game this weekend versus Coastal Carolina.

Jackson says he works every year with the thousands of incoming new students at orientation and is ready to respond should they ever need assistance.

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