Here at The Transcript, we feel it is important to amplify student perspectives on relevant issues. One such issue is the mass shooting that occurred on Michigan State University's campus on the evening of February 13. As such, our readers may find four articles below that provide different angles and responses to the incident. We felt that combining the articles into a single post would allow the issue to be covered in different ways, without putting too much emphasis on such a triggering event, or exploiting such a tragic occurrence. Please find the separate articles below.
- Anna Nacci, Managing Editor
Students long for policy change after decades of mass shootings
By Kaylen Brandt
The Sandy Hook Project reports 948 K-12 school shootings between the Sandy Hook incident and June 2022.
Sandy Hook took the lives of 20 six-and-seven-year-olds, as well as six teachers on Dec. 14, 2012. This incident is recognized as the deadliest school shooting at an elementary school in the US.
Many of the school shootings over the past decade have directly affected college aged Gen-Z students, starting with Sandy Hook, Parkland, Oxford High School to now Michigan State University.
Students connect to these tragedies through age. Young people have been losing their lives in shootings our entire lives.
Thirteen mass shootings have taken place on college campuses since 1966; however, no databases track only mass shootings directed at colleges or universities.
These tragedies are only logged if more than three people die. This misleads people into thinking that gun violence incidents targeted towards college campuses aren’t common. The infographic below shows a difference.
Between 2013 and 2022 there have been 114 deaths and 242 injuries on college campuses due to gun violence, both targeted and not.
The recent shooting at Michigan State University has affected the Ohio Wesleyan community. Whether you know people attending MSU, had a personal connection to the victims, or it just makes you sad. It’s important to acknowledge the situation in a way that will help us understand what college students want to be done about the issue of gun violence.
“I was following [the situation] the whole time. I would refresh my page every five seconds to watch the live updates. It was just really scary because they're our age, these are our peers,” said Gillian Murray, an OWU freshman.
International students on campus struggled to watch the situation unfold. Ariyana Rimmal, a freshman from Pakistan, talks about how being unfamiliar with school shootings in general is affecting her.
“I was really scared. I’ve never been exposed to something like this before because I’m an international student. School shootings are not a concept that is very common back home. So, to find out about everything that happened in a horrific way and the lack of gun control, really freaked me out.”, she said.
Although they have different experiences with school shootings, both Murray and Rimmal want to see the same response to this issue.
“I definitely want some legislation in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen again because there are so many precious lives at stake,” Rimmal said.
“I want to see less thoughts and prayers and more actual action. We need a lot more emphasis on mental health, stricter background checks, and making the types of weapons that are most commonly used in these mass shootings inaccessible to the public,” Murray said.
However, they both doubt change to happen anytime soon. With polarization throughout the government and the MSU shooting not being a unique incident, it’s hard to believe gun control is soon.
School shootings aren’t a foreign idea to most students on campus; however, situations like this scare all of us and make us hope for change to make for a safer college experience.
OWU families face shock after MSU shooting
By Ellie Smith
Many college students were left in shock after the tragic school shooting on Monday, February 13 at Michigan State University.
Three students were killed and five injured at Michigan State University. The event’s impact and concern has traveled across the country to many other schools and universities, including Ohio Wesleyan University.
Arie Sanders, a freshman at OWU, expressed her feelings of anxiety and stress this shooting has caused her.
“I could not believe that something like this has happened yet again at a university. It made me realize that nowhere is safe. It is hard to focus on anything since this happened. I am scared to be at school,” Sanders said.
Another OWU student, Lauren Gray, struggled to process her emotions after hearing about the MSU shooting.
“I have a friend that knows a few people attending MSU. Even though they were unharmed physically, those students are mentally not okay. I could not imagine going through something like that, something that leaves such an impact on so many people.”
Gray sends prayers to all students and families that were affected by this tragedy. She hopes all schools look into finding ways to make their university a safer place.
The MSU shooting not only left students in fear, but also impacted families. Parents of OWU students were left concerned about the security of the school and for the safety of their children.
Jennifer Robinson, a mother of an OWU student, says, “I am not sure what the answer is, but something needs to be done. These kids should not have to go to school worrying about violence like this.”
Both students and parents are devastated over the MSU shooting. This event had an impact on colleges and universities across the country. The effects vary from person to person, or university to university, but this tragedy will be felt for a long time and hopefully bring more awareness.
Students express anger over inaction to prevent campus shootings
By Megan Kluxen
The school shooting at Michigan State University has students nationwide in utter shock. Students are experiencing a wide range of emotions, from anger to sadness.
College students are no stranger to hearing about mass shootings on the news, many seem to think this happens way too often. This shooting, being so close to Ohio Wesleyan has had a personal impact on students.
“There seems to be multiple school shootings a year. I have been scared to go to school for years, this shooting being at a college campus makes it seem as if I will never be safe.” said current OWU freshman Madison Bricker.
Conversations with some students took a more political turn. In a discussion with Cadence Jobe, she was angry about the frequency of the shootings, and how there has been no change.
“Shootings like this happen way too often, and you never see anyone who has the power to make change, making the change. Students, children, are dying way too young, and our government has the power to change this, but they choose not to for their own gain.” Jobe said while discussing her thoughts on the most recent shooting.
When interviewing more students, the pattern of anger continued. Students are angry by the situation rather than upset. With the frequency of these shootings, it is no surprise that over the years our emotions have changed.
Current OWU student Blake Dichler expresses why he is now angry rather than upset.
“I am upset for the students and families going through this tragedy. It's the frequency of the situation that makes me incredibly angry. I am overwhelmed with anger, no longer sadness with every school shooting, everyone moves on the next week, and it just keeps repeating,” said Dichler.
Ohio Wesleyan students are scared and angry, but it is good to know these emotions are felt by many students. Some change needs to be made, but until then we can depend on each other to help fight through this difficult time, and the challenges to come.
Ohio Wesleyan offers active shooter response training
By Ben Warden
A shooting occurred February 13 in East Lansing, Michigan, on the campus of Michigan State University. The gunman killed three students and injured another five before fatally shooting himself when the police arrived.
The following day, Ohio Wesleyan responded to the incident by sending a message to its students and faculty. The email, written by OWU’s Vice President for Student Success and Engagement Dwayne Todd, began with a message acknowledging the shooting in East Landing.
“The tragic shooting at Michigan State University last evening has understandably shaken many of us, and is yet another example of horrific violence in one of our schools. Our hearts are with the MSU community as they mourn for those who lost their lives and work to recover from the mental and physical trauma they endured.”
After the statement, Todd shifted the conversation directly toward the people living here at Ohio Wesleyan. He listed resources available to the faculty and students on campus. Todd then explained that the university was going to offer two separate active shooter response trainings on February 16 and 20.
The first class was led by the head of OWU public safety, Sean Bolender. The meeting consisted of direct training to the audience in the event of an active shooter. Bolender was open to questions throughout the session and gave detailed advice in response.
Along with the training, videos were shown of real-life episodes of active shootings. While no one was harmed in the films, Bolender acknowledged the stress one experiences when watching the videos.
He said it is difficult to make quick decisions when under stress. Even if one found themselves in an actual active shooter situation, Bolender said it is important to take a moment to lower your anxiety.
Bolender finished the session re-emphasizing the three words one should remember in the event of an active shooter, which were avoid, deny, and defend. He then explained each word one last time: Avoid the shooter at all costs, and be aware of any possible exits to the building including windows if low enough to the ground.
Deny the shooter access to the room, whether it be barricading the door or using a long object such as a belt to manually hold the door closed.
Defend yourself at all costs. If an individual with a weapon enters the room, there is no such thing as dirty fighting. Use whatever you can to attack the threat, and do not stop until the person is no longer a risk.
Bolender made clear that what everyone had just learned was vital. “A very small amount of mass shootings occur on college campuses. Even if you never face an active shooter threat in your life, you should still carry this knowledge wherever you go.”
He used an analogy to acknowledge the importance of the session.
“Most of you have never been in a car accident before, yet you still wear a seatbelt whenever you drive. This course could very well be the seatbelt that saves your life. Invest in yourself and those around you, there’s no harm in learning life-saving skills.”
When asked if and why people at Ohio Wesleyan should attend one of these sessions, Bolender responded by re-emphasizing the skills the audience had just learned. “I would highly recommend anyone take this class. It is only an hour and a half, and we try to time the sessions up so you do not miss class. Again, there is no hurt to attending one of these classes, and it could very well save your life one day.”
The next class is to be held February 20 in room 304 in Hamilton-Williams. Bolender will be the lead for this session as well. If anyone is interested in attending the session, or wants to schedule one of their own for a private group, email Bolender at email@example.com.