Wednesday’s lockdown at Montana State University was the first campus wide lockdown in years. So long ago, officials couldn’t remember the last time the whole campus was on lockdown.
MSU spokesman Tracy Ellig said the university has options when it comes to placing the campus on lockdown.
“We do have the ability to basically to create lockdowns at different levels,” said Ellig. “We don’t have to lockdown the entire campus.”
Most of the time when MSU locks down, it is only a portion of campus, such as a residence hall or academic building.
“It could be where we have a student who has possibly gotten into a fight and looking for a place to hide,” said Ellig.
But Wednesday’s apparent threat, Ellig said, was different than any he’s seen on campus.
“The concern that you have someone on campus with a firearm who is carrying it openly, that’s unusual,” said Ellig.
Not many people were on campus during the lockdown Monday because the semester ended last week. Ellig said the only thing that would be different is stress.
"Some portion of that group will not get the message or decide to ignore the message and that’s a stressful situation,” said Ellig.
The call came just after 8 a.m. Wednesday, but the first alert wasn’t until just after 9.
Ellig said there will always be a delay because officials have to assess the situation and craft the message to be sent.