LUPD Enacts New Security Measures at Convocation
The Liberty University Police Department, in the rollout of the spring semester, has implemented a new policy that requires all attendees to walk through a metal detectors and have their bags checked before entering the Vines Center in an attempt to ensure students’ safety.
“Convocation is the largest gathering of Christians which occurs on a reg
ular basis,” Ron Sloan, associate vice president of security and public safety, said in an email. “The safety of those in attendance is our top priority. These security measures were implemented to help accomplish that goal.”
Metal detectors and bag checks were implemented at the first Convocation of the semester Jan. 24 for both students and guests. However, according to a News & Advance story, Convocation guests were required to pass through metal detectors during the Fall 2017 semester.
LUPD sent out several emails with tips for students attending Convocation to lessen the inconvenience of the metal detectors. The department suggested arriving early, as all six entrances open at 9:45 a.m.,and having Flames Passes ready to show before entering the Vines Center. For students who carry concealed weapons, they must have their required Liberty-issued concealed carry perm it in addition to their Flames Pass.
“We encourage everyone attending to come early,” Sloan said. “If you don’t need to bring a bag—don’t. If you must, have all the pockets open for a good inspection. Follow the directions of the security staff, and be patient.” Sloan also emphasized that students be respectful and attentive of security staff.
“Remember that the security staff is there to protect and serve the (Liberty) community,” Sloan said. “Always cooperate and respect any request made of you by security personnel.”
Though the increased security at the first Convocation of the semester surprised students, resulting in lines stretching across Main Campus, Sloan said things went smoothly. “We were expecting long lines, but it has been better than we expected,” Sloan said. “This, we feel, is due to everyone’s patience and cooperation. Wait times are steadily improving.”
In addition to adding metal detectors and bag checks for entering Convocation, Sloan said physical barriers have been installed to limit vehicular access to heavily-trafficked areas of campus.
The university installed large concrete spheres around the perimeter of the Vines Center, and Sloan said students can expect to see similar measures on other parts of campus soon. Sloan’s department understands that with change comes transition and, often, complaints. However, he encourages students to be patient and think of the goal in tightening campus security.
“The safety of the Liberty community is (security and public safety’s) top priority,” Sloan said. “We continue to look at ways to make Liberty University the safest campus for everyone at all times.”
Though security has increased around campus, Sloan reminded students of the admonition, “If you see something, say something.”