SECURITY MEASURES: Following Friday’s lockdown after reports of an active shooter on campus, officials at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Public Safety department have amped up its standard safety workshops and tutorials.
Students and faculty were advised to shelter in place late in the day Friday, while the New York Police Department investigated the matter at the West 27th Street campus. At 6:40 p.m. police officials said there was no active threat and one person was in custody. The lockdown was lifted after 22-year-old Noah Lee was apprehended by police at the Barnes & Noble store in Union Square. Holding what turned out to be a pellet gun, Lee had posted a video of himself aiming at doors inside the school on social media with the caption, “School shooter, thank god it’s Friday.”
FIT has nearly 1,000 faculty members and close to 8,900 students. Mario Cabrera, director of FIT Public Safety, said Wednesday, “With a multi-building campus that includes residence halls, all in the middle of New York City, FIT has always made the safety and security of its community the highest priority. We need to have secure places to allow teaching and learning to go on. With that said, after an incident like this — which we have never experienced — President [Joyce] Brown has asked that FIT’s Emergency Preparedness Response Group assess all of our processes, procedures and facilities for identification of any enhancements. And we will do that.”
In addition, Cabrera said, “This week, we have also increased the number of standard safety workshops and tutorials FIT Public Safety offers to the community, and President Brown is holding college-wide conversations to talk with students, faculty and staff.”
While not aware of what happened at FIT Friday, and “very glad to hear that no one was hurt,” Parsons School of Design’s executive dean Joel Towers said Wednesday, “I believe that we must have comprehensive gun reform in this country.”
While Parsons has been doing training about what individuals can do in live shooter situations since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, Towers said further action is needed. “I think the only thing you can do is to get rid of the guns. It is crazy how many guns are in this country. No amount of active shooter drills are going to address this problem, until you get rid of the guns.”