A man in a brown leather jacket carrying a large black bag makes his way across Point Park University’s campus and enters a building. From inside an elevator, he opens the bag to reveal a handgun, which he tucks in his waistband and picks up a military-style rifle. He leaves the elevator headed toward an unsuspecting class.
This is the fictional plot of a new safety video produced internally by Point Park for its City-University Life Class, which is offered to freshmen to introduce them to Pittsburgh and explain safety considerations of an urban campus.
The video project, led by Assistant Vice President for Public Safety Jeff Besong, was produced and acted by a staff of current and former Point Park film students.
He wanted to bring an active shooter scenario “closer to home,” he said, by filming the video on university grounds and with students appearing on screen. Besong said that there are not many college active shooter safety videos available. The step was proactive, he said.
“We just felt that filming on Point Park University would resonate better with our students, since we have a large cinema arts department,” Besong said. “I believe students will get more out of it seeing our university.”
According to a study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, out of 160 active shooter incidents that took place between the years 2000 and 2013, 24.4 percent (39) occurred at an educational environment. About 7.5 percent (12) occurred at universities.
Point Park security has the ability to lock down the whole campus in emergency situations, and also sends emergency text notifications to the phones of students and faculty, he said. The school bans all weapons and firearms on campus, with the exception of those belonging to university police -- about 15 officers, Besong said.
Point Park has never received a threat of a shooting, he said.