Mike Kantner hosts Zoom with students over public safety conversation

The Assistant Vice President of the Department of Public Safety, Mike Kantner. - Photo / Rowan University

Since the start of 2023, there have been 93 mass shootings in the U.S. according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), on the path to either equal or exceed 2022’s number of 647.

While there is a wavering consensus on the definition of a mass shooting, the GVA defines it as, “four or more shot and/or killed in a single event, (incident), at the same general time and location not including the shooter.” 

On Feb. 13, a 43-year-old man with ties to Ewing, New Jersey, opened fire on the campus of Michigan State University, killing three students and injuring five others before subsequently taking his own life. 

Given another tragic event taking place at an institution for higher education, students and facility at Rowan University have had to reevaluate their own safety on campus as mass shootings have become commonplace in the day-to-day life of Americans. 

On Monday, Feb. 27, in response to not only the Michigan State shooting but also questions and concerns raised by those on campus about campus safety in general, Mike Kantner, the assistant vice president of the university’s department of public safety, spoke with members of the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts via Zoom about safety protocols on campus.

Kantner, who has been working at Rowan for 13 years, previously worked for the Camden City Police Department starting straight out of high school. He was a police officer for 30 years before retiring as the Chief of Detectives — giving him decades of experience in the area of public safety. 

“This campus, in my opinion, they get two things here. They get a quality education and a safe environment to do it,” Kantner said. “I often say that I’ll continue because I’m a realist. And I say it like it is. Anything can happen anywhere, anytime, anyplace in the world. And I think you see that by just picking up a newspaper for those who still like to get the black ink on their hands, but anything can happen anywhere. So we try to minimize that happening by trying to do what I consider safety and security awareness, not safety and security paranoia.”

One of the topics discussed was active shooter training and the philosophy associated with it: “run, hide and fight.” 

During the shooting at Michigan State, students received a text message that elaborated on the “run, hide and fight” procedure, stating that “Run means evacuate away from danger if you can do so safely, Hide means to secure-in-place, and Fight means protect yourself if no other option.”

Despite the unpredictable nature of active shooter situations, according to Kantner one thing that everyone can do is to complete active shooter training so individuals can have some preparedness. 

The University police department will be conducting in-person training sessions on March 30 and April 6 in room 127 of the student center. For those who don’t want to wait until then, there is an online training option through the self-service banner that can be completed at any time. 

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