Gun Violence on College Campuses

More stories from Veronica Ung-Kono

College Students Vote In
September 24, 2015

Shootings on college campuses have been trending across the U.S., and recently the gun violence became a little too close to home for the Syracuse community.

Syracuse University was forced into a lockdown on Oct. 14 as a homicide occurred on Hope Avenue, leaving campus 15-year-old Zavion Escobar dead and a 17-year-old boy shot in the leg. The shooting led to a search for the suspects at Oakwood Cemetery and suspects shooting at a police car.

Senior economics major at Syracuse University Philippe Sidawi said, “SU took the right measures, after such an event—keeping everyone on lockdown; but, it does not make me feel any safer about the city of Syracuse.”

Along with SU several campus’ have seen shootings within the past few weeks: Texas Southern University, Northern Arizona University and Umpqua Community College.

Texas police issued a statement confirming freshman Brent Randall of Texas Southern University was killed on Oct. 16 in a parking lot outside of a school apartment complex. A second person was wounded and is currently hospitalized under stable condition. Although two individuals were taken into custody, both have been released. Police said motives are unknown and it’s unknown whether or not the shootings were related.

In the case of Northern Arizona University, freshman Steven Jones has been accused of shooting four students and charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of felony aggravated assault. The victims were all members of the Delta Chi fraternity, while the suspected gunman was pledging another fraternity called Sigma Chi. Jones’ bail has been set at $2 million according to CNN reports.

In an interview with Le Moyne’s head of security Mark Petterelli, he placed an emphasis on the Heights Alert system, stating the system is the most accurate method of receiving information, should an incident occur on Le Moyne’s campus. The system will send updates via text messages, emails, Facebook, Twitter and the college’s desktop computers.

In a case of an emergency, Petterelli advised students to “seek a secure location,” and await information via the Heights Alert system. Le Moyne will be introducing a new Emergency Management Plan in January 2016. Petterelli described it as sort a “anything-that-could-go-wrong plan,” ranging in any incidents from weather to bomb threats.

“The staff, faculty and officers have all been trained for these situations. We are confident that we are prepared,” said Petterelli.  

The Le Moyne community has expressed little concern, when it comes to a threatening incident happening on campus.

I think they [Le Moyne security] do well. I do feel safe walking around campus and all that, but then again I don’t really walk around places where dangerous things have happened on our campus,” said senior Killian Crowley. “The Plaza in particular is a place frequented by many students and is no stranger to criminal actions. On Dec. 3, 2013 a male was robbed by three people walking from the Plaza, so I think we can allow security to have a larger presence there.”

Sophomore Allen Hill said there are multiple reasons for on-campus shootings. “First off, I feel decreasing awareness of reality vs. fantasy is a reason. Some thoughts, although sadistic, should stay thoughts and not be acted upon,” said Hill. “Another is lack of communication. Some people just want their problems heard and some people refuse to listen, so in order to get attention, they shoot up a school and finally get what they wanted.”

Regardless of the reasons, any situation is to be immediately reported to security, unless the circumstance requires an immediate response by the authorities.