Professors continue class through fire alarms

Some professors have given students another choice on what to do during a fire alarm at Northern Kentucky University. That choice is to remain in the classroom.

During a recent storm in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, several instructors at Northern Kentucky University chose to implement the new choice.

On March 23, a storm pelted NKU with rain and lashed it with strong winds, and it was the second severe storm this semester. This recent storm did not last long, only about 30 minutes from start to finish. Two internal sirens had already sounded to alert students to the severe thunderstorm and to later issue an all clear. Shortly thereafter, the fire alarm was activated in Founders Hall. The storm caused the fire alarm to go off, but that was not known at the time.

While some students, faculty and The Northerner staff evacuated the building, some students remained in the classroom and listened as their professors continued to lecture.

There are emergency procedures posted in the buildings around campus, telling the proper procedures for a fire alarm, severe weather, etc. These posters instruct persons to evacuate when the fire alarm sounds.

“Any time there is a fire alarm, everyone should evacuate,” said NKU Chief of Police Jason Willis.

Ignoring a fire alarm can result in the possibility of being charged with disorderly conduct in the second degree, a Class B misdemeanor. Disorderly conduct includes the refusal “to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard, or other emergency.”

According to Chief Willis, “it’s always a possibility” someone would be charged of the crime, but unlikely.

Regardless of whether it is criminal or not, many students think professors should not put them in such a difficult position.

“The students shouldn’t have been put in that position,” said junior pre-med major Ashley Carrington. “Regardless if there was no fire, they still should have evacuated.”

Another student understood that some professors might get frustrated, but said the risk was too high.

“Professors should consider the safety of the students first. Lessons can be made up and tests can be retaken, but the safety of the students and the professors alike should be taken into consideration first,” said senior English major Erin Wynn.

Story by Brandon Barb