A Seton Hall Public Safety official showed resident assistants a graphic video during a Housing and Residence Life (HRL) emergency response training session over the summer which depicted the graphic shooting of several people, a Setonian investigation has revealed.
Taken from the infamous Facebook live-stream broadcasted by the shooter at the Al Noor Mosque near Christchurch, New Zealand, the roughly 40 second excerpt depicted worshipers being shot at, leaving some resident assistants and HRL staff present shaken and disturbed. The attack, which left 40 dead and dozens injured in March, was the deadliest terrorist attack in New Zealand’s history.
The session was meant to cover multiple aspects of emergency preparedness, including extreme weather events and active shooters, according to HRL Assistant Director of Training & Development Joshua Reda, and was run by Barry Eck, Assistant Director of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the current President of the New Jersey Emergency Management Association.
Just prior to the start of the session, Eck approached HRL staff to inform them that “some type of video was going to be shown” during the training, though it was never explicitly specified what the video would be, Reda said.
As Eck began the training, he also provided resident assistants with a warning that the video he was about to show would be graphic but, according to sources in the room, did not give an indication of the degree of carnage that was about to be displayed. Reda said that HRL staff was completely caught off guard by the level of violence and death in video, calling it “shocking.”
One resident assistant source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the subject said that they “could not believe” what they had viewed. “I was really upset the rest of the day; I had seen multiple people get murdered,” the person said.
Sharing of the video is a crime in New Zealand, and multiple people have been charged under a law the forbids the dissemination or possession of material depicting extreme violence and terrorism
After the video ended, Eck apologized to the room before then showing the University sanctioned informational video on active shooter situations, “Run, Hide, Fight,” and apologized again after completing the training.
Immediately after the session ended, HRL Associate Director of Residential Education and Student Development Jessica Proano said she spoke with Eck and advised him never to use that video again, noting that everyone was “clearly distraught.” Proano also informed HRL Director Tim Moran of the incident, who promptly addressed the resident assistants who left the room and the larger resident assistant staff via email apologizing for the incident.
The next day, Eck returned again to formally apologize for the incident alongside Director of Public Safety Pat Linfante, Associate Director of Public Safety Sergio Oliva, Assistant Vice President Monica Burnette and interim Vice President of Students Services Robin Cunningham.
In an email to The Setonian Cunningham said “that the showing of that video was not the right decision and showed very poor judgement” and asserted that all future presentations will be thoroughly vetted to ensure they are appropriate for use, something HRL has also said they will also be doing from now on when other departments come to present to their staff.
When asked if Eck had been sanctioned by the University in the aftermath of the incident, Cunningham said that “additional concerns were also addressed through appropriate personnel channels,” though University policy prohibits her from elaborating further on the matter.
Eck did not respond to multiple requests to comment.
Nicholas Kerr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @NickKerr99.