By Haley Bartlett—Copy Editor
This past week, UTC students received an alert concerning a suspicious call regarding a man walking near campus with a gun. While the events that proceeded to occur were more than traumatizing for students, the only real danger we were under was how ill-prepared the university seems to be in stressful situations.
The hilarity of the predicament revealed itself in the aftermath once it was reported that the suspicious person was in fact an off-duty officer walking home. The pinnacle of the ridiculousness appeared in the form of the Spider-Man meme surfacing as the suspected officer was searching for himself during the entirety of the manhunt. Though students can now laugh along with the joke, let’s take a moment to assess the real issue.
It is hard to tell in these kind of circumstances how to properly handle it; do you not say anything and risk it turning out bad or do you say something and it end in being a false alarm? You can’t completely get angry at the school for the alerts they sent out, however sparingly. There is something to be said about the numerous rumors going around on social media or in group chats sparking a chain reaction of fear. From being told there were hostages in the basement of Fletcher Hall to the State Office Building needing to be evacuated to place snipers on the roof if needed, it is safe to say that students didn’t know how to react.
While we can now agree this was nothing more than a misunderstanding, there can also be judgements made on behalf of the faculty and officers for the campus in handling the events. Many students were outraged by receiving announcements from professors that class would, indeed, still be assumed to go on. A mass panic due to the alerts and rumors left a lot of students traumatized, especially in a world where shootings on campus is not a rarity. So to feel like the primary concern was class attendance did not sit well with many.
A lot of people, myself included, have also been asking what measures UTC has implemented in preparing for these kind of tragedies. I’m sure most people are aware of the videos going around of our officers on the scene and one dropping the magazine to his gun. It raises the question of the kind of training they have for securing a campus as well as if it is even possible to have lockdown procedures for our facilities.
Last Wednesday’s alert was definitely a realistic depiction illustrating the old saying of chickens running with their heads cut off. All I hope for is that this is a hard lesson for, not only the students to be careful with what they say in retrospect of rumors, but for security and safety precautions to continue getting better.