(Image Courtesy of UMass Dartmouth)
Sports Editor: Shailyn Bacchiocchi
Late on Monday, February 13th, gunshots were fired at Michigan State University, killing three students and injuring five others.
The shooting was done by 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae, who shot and killed himself before police could apprehend him.
McRae had no connection or affiliation with the University, and the motive remains unclear.
State schools are well-known for being open to the public, UMass Dartmouth is similar to Michigan State in the way that anyone can walk in almost anywhere, all the time. There are no keycards utilized for the entrances to academic buildings.
According to a survey done on college campus shootings from 2001-2016, 59% of perpetrators had no affiliation with the college campus.
When incidents like this happen, it is imperative that all Universities, especially state schools with similar safety concerns, address the news, as well as ensure the safety of their students.
So far, UMass Dartmouth has said…nothing.
Well, not nothing. We should specify that police chief John Souza made a comment at the Shake The Ship forum on February 16th, stating that they would be trimming back shrubbery and installing more blue lights and cameras on campus in order to combat criminals. The entire Shake The Ship recap can be found in our article here.
Despite this small comment made at Shake The Ship, that is not an acceptable University response to the shooting.
Shake The Ship is not attended by the majority of the student body and staff; therefore, not many people would be aware that any sort of comment was made.
We all heard about the recent pellet/BB gun incident here on campus. It is extremely lucky that no one was seriously injured in that incident.
Speaking of Shake The Ship, John Souza also mentioned that the gun used was an Orbeez water pistol, not a pellet/BB gun like the University reported initially.
Of course, if you were not at the forum, you would not be aware of that.
Whether it be a pellet or water pistol that shoots Orbeez, somebody was able to make it onto campus, hit multiple students, and leave without ever being caught.
We don’t want to be too grim, but we also want to emphasize the importance of properly addressing safety concerns.
It goes without saying that in that specific incident, we would have had a much worse scenario had it been a real gun. And it would be just as easy to come in and shoot an actual gun on campus as it was for them to shoot a water pistol.
The fact of the matter is, it is dangerous in more ways than one to not address the shooting as a University.
The student body at UMassD has been concerned about safety on campus for a long time.
Many students point out that access to the campus is too open and that anyone can walk into the academic buildings at any time. Not only that, but there is only check-in within the dorm buildings after 7 PM, and a lot of the time, students are able to walk past the desk without scanning in.
Even if the school does not change its safety policies, the lack of acknowledgment of the shooting is deplorable.
Not only are we a state University, but we also have a student body that has been concerned about their safety on campus well before the shooting. The lack of lights, lack of emergency stands, and lack of security have been brought up at almost every Shake The Ship forum.
Therefore, the University should not be ignoring a tragedy that could easily be replicated here.
The University should also be addressing these safety concerns in a public way through email or social media announcements. It is not enough to make a comment at a forum that most students cannot attend.
If we are really digging deep, trimming shrubbery is not an acceptable solution to stopping mass shootings on campus.
The student body is tired of seeing quick, easy add-ons to the campus that portray the image that the University is working toward a safer environment.
Instead, the University should be completely reevaluating its safety procedures, security, and infrastructure. And the University should notify students of these changes in order to ensure students’ well-being.
It should not take two emails, nine hours apart, to properly acknowledge incidents on campus.
The administration should be able to communicate with students about their safety in an effective and efficient way.
At the least, students deserve an acknowledgment of the tragedy.
As said many, many times before, students deserve to feel safe and secure on every single college campus.
It should not be up to the students to beg administration to acknowledge their lack of action and make plans to be better.
For more information about the MSU shooting, read our article: Mass Shooting at Michigan State University Leaves 3 Dead.
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