Security guard patrols Gonzaga Law School in response to threats

Security officers from an outside company were hired to be present during business hours at the Gonzaga University School of Law

Jacob Rooksby, dean of Gonzaga University School of Law, sent an email on Jan. 6 addressing campus safety.  

“Many of you may be aware of online speech of a concerning nature that has been directed at members of the Law School and University in recent months, including members of the faculty and administration,” Rooksby said in the email. “One such example includes social media posts by a former law student…” 

It was written in the email that university officials were aware of the threats and insinuations of the social media posts, had been tracking it and reported it to the Spokane Police Department (SPD.)  

The Law School opted to place a private security officer, not employed by Campus Security and Public Safety (CSPS), in the Law School lobby.  

“This individual will be present to assist Campus Security and Public Safety in their ongoing vigilance of the Law School,” Rooksby said in the Jan. 6 email.  

A subsequent email was sent to Law Students, faculty and staff on Jan. 13 notifying the community about a forum regarding campus safety, which was held Jan. 14.  

Attached to the email was a notice to “be on the lookout” for Anthony Lalli, who is not permitted on GU property at any time.  

“The University requests that you please refrain from engaging with [Lalli] directly or by social media regarding his social media communication about the University and Law School because such communication may be unhelpful to the resolution of this matter and efforts of law enforcement,” Rooksby said in the email.  

The series of emails were not sent to undergraduate students.  

Rooksby did not comment on who has been threatened.  

“It’s a situation being monitored by a team of people across the university and also the Spokane Police Department,” he said. “Upon the recommendation of the team and the [Spokane] Police Department, that is the step we took in response to the concern.”

“We have a consistent and synergistic working relationship with our partners at Spokane Police Department,” said Scott Wittel, associate director of CSPS. “We contract officers for weekends, holidays and high-profile events to patrol our off-campus Logan Neighborhood.”

CSPS helped coordinate the hiring of the security guard employed by an outside company. Rooksby said CSPS does not have enough officers to place one at the Law School. 

The security guard is present during business hours at the Law School. 

Wittel said CSPS hires security from outside GU because it is more cost effective.

“[Security guards are present when] athletics need additional staffing for basketball games, GUEST may require additional crowd management assistance for large events, some private student groups utilize external security services for dances and the like,” Wittel said.

The team tracking the situation at the School of Law includes Rooksby, Wittel, members from the office of general council, members from the office of the vice president of administration and the office of the provost and senior vice president at GU. 

Wittel said when threats are made to the community, CSPS coordinates with SPD to respond to the threat if it is immediate.

If there is not an immediate threat to safety, members of the community who are being threatened or harassed are encouraged to immediately report to CSPS, as well as to the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT).

“The BIT coordinator will also continue to monitor cases after a resolution is reached, and follow up with the victim as needed,” Wittel said.

More information on the BIT and how to report threatening or concerning behavior can be found on the MyGU page.

Karlie Murphy is the opinion editor.

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