Following two mass shootings over the weekend that killed as many as 31 people, new University of Idaho President Scott Green said the safety of the school’s Vandals is of the utmost importance.

Green, who began in his role July 1, said UI needs to be well prepared to react to any type of threat — a topic he said he’s already spoken to the university’s general counsel about.

“I just want to make sure that we train our staff on campus to respond as quickly as possible to any threats,” Green said during a meeting at the Lewiston Tribune office Monday.

That includes working with law enforcement, counselors and others to ensure UI has the proper measures in place to respond to an incident.

The two shootings, one that took place at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and the other just 12 hours later in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio, have resparked the gun debate, with some lawmakers calling for stricter gun regulations.

Green said those discussions have to take place on a national level.

The solution would be finding a “common ground” between the far right and left groups, Green said, which would allow people to still use their guns for sport, while preventing massacres.

“The gun laws we have on the books just aren’t helping,” Green said. “We are not preventing some of these shootings, so I think we have to think about doing things differently. I can’t tell you what (that would look like) because I don’t know.”

In response to a question about diversity programs at UI, Green said all students need to feel safe and included.

“We are committed to having the best experience possible for our students on campus, regardless of where they are coming from, or what their race is, or what their religion is,” Green said.

Tomtas may be contacted at jtomtas@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2294.

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