It seems like every day or every week I check my phone to see that there has been another mass shooting in this country. It is what we’re famous for after all. In the days following, I check my email, waiting for a message from the President of the College, an administrator, a professor, someone on this campus to acknowledge what has happened. I am left with radio silence. I was shocked after the mass shootings over Lunar New Year went unrecognized, let alone the college students murdered just a few hours from here. Carrying on as though nothing has happened, at this point, is to be expected. But not even acknowledging the events taking place, is not something that we should be getting used to.
I know that every administration is different, and it is unfair to expect every president to be the same as the last. But one of the things Sarah Bolton was most famous for on this campus, besides her pantsuits with matching tartan scarf, was that you could always expect an email from her. When the first cases of Covid were coming out and everyone was scared, an email. When hateful and racist incidents were taking place on our campus, an email. When George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and too many others were murdered, we at least got an email (and it was summer break!). Now don’t get me wrong, thoughts and prayers have never and will never be enough in the wake of the atrocities that are occurring in this country and beyond. But just because they are not enough does not mean silence is a better answer.
I shouldn’t be surprised by the silence though. After all, it’s not like they can calm the student body by informing us of the policies in place that will protect us. In the Scot’s Key we have explicit procedures in place for tornado and fire emergencies and for missing persons. What is the plan for an active shooter? We are not allowed to have firearms on campus nor other weapons that may provide some use in the case of an emergency, like a knife. Now I personally don’t think that more weapons are an answer, but there needs to be some sort of plan. RAVE, our emergency response system, is better known as the system that sends a text or an email hours, if not days, after the event in question has taken place. When a student was shot with a BB gun on Beall Avenue last year, we were warned to stay off Beall hours afterwards. If that was an active shooter situation, who knows what else could have happened? Yik yak would be our best bet to pass along information and what does that say about the systems we currently have in place?
Think about what plans you know are in place, that you have been told about in ARCH, by an RA, by a professor about what to do in case of an emergency. Does anything come to mind? The door blocks in Kauke that can prevent someone from entering? What about one of the all glass classrooms in Ruth Williams? How do you hide or prevent someone from entering a classroom whose door doesn’t even lock let alone is made from glass? What about if you were in Lowry? Or the Library? Students should know what to do no matter what building they are in. We live walking distance from a gun range, in rural Ohio, a state that issued or renewed over 200,000 concealed carry permits in 2021. The city of Wooster has a known animosity with the College. The mental health resources for students are abysmal. To say that it can’t happen here would be ridiculous. We have learned that it can happen anywhere.
I consider myself to be pretty well informed when it comes to this campus, I do read my emails after all. So even if I am incorrect and there are systems and procedures in place, I am unaware of them, so imagine how many other students are as clueless as me. Whether the answer is to implement new systems or inform students of the current ones, much needs to be done on this campus, an email would be a welcomed start.