Loyola’s response to Morgan State shooting a systemic failure – Greyhound

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Graphics created by Abby Benner

The following content represents the views of the student journalists and does not necessarily represent the views of Loyola University Maryland, the Greyhounds, or the Loyola University Communications Department.

Tuesday, October 3rd at 9:25pm Five people shot to death at Morgan State University campus, just two miles from Loyola. News websites start reporting Around 10 p.m., students at Loyola University began to panic at the thought of an active shooter near campus. Despite these legitimate concerns, Loyola did not calm students’ fears or update them on the situation until 11:52 p.m., two hours and 27 minutes after the incident.

With nearly two and a half hours between the shooting and Loyola’s response, students and parents were left in the dark. The silence at Loyola was deafening, and the void that should have been filled with reassuring messages was replaced by panic. Around the same time police began responding to the shooting, a fire alarm went off at Campion Tower overnight and we had to gather the minimum information available to decide for ourselves whether we were safe. Reports of people running around campus and posts on social media platforms such as Fizz conveyed students’ frustration and fear.

Many people don’t know what to do, and we all unfortunately grew up with news coverage and therefore anxiety. Molly Gerard, 26, explained how the discovery created anxiety.

Anonymous post from social media app Fizz.

“I didn’t really know what to do. I was doing homework alone in the English department in the humanities, so it was already a creepy environment with cardboard cutouts of people. I wasn’t panicking, but I felt My heart was sinking and I kept wondering if I should have done something — if I should have ducked into one of the classrooms instead of being in an open area,” she said.

Students must make quick decisions based on their gut feelings and stories of mass shootings across the country. Ilah Krowicki, 27, explained that she was heartbroken after hearing the news and unsettled by how close the situation was to Loyola.

“My first reaction was to go back to my bedroom and stay there. My roommate and I ended up staying up late into the night. No one on my floor had any other reaction. However, I tried to help my friend (the one who informed me ) calmed down because she was feeling very anxious after hearing the news,” she said.

Madison Tiña, 26, expressed the same fear when she discovered the shooting after returning home from get off work in Campion.

“Around 11:15 p.m., my roommates and I were sitting around the living room when one of my roommates’ mom called her and told her that there had been a shooting at Morgan State University and that the shooter was still at large. At that moment, my heart It sank in. I imagined the worst things that could have happened to me if I hadn’t taken the shuttle home,” Tina said.

Some front desk assistants were aware of the situation while working. One of the assistants, 25-year-old Grace Millis, was told by her supervisor to contact Public Safety and inform them she was leaving.

“When I did that, the dispatcher immediately interrupted me and said ‘We’re aware of the issue and it’s on the other side of Cold Spring, so there’s no immediate threat to Loyola.’ That was the end of the conversation. ,” Millis said.

This cold and uncaring reaction from the dispatcher was not unexpected to Millis. She explained that many people have already had negative experiences with public safety, but this lack of communication extends beyond desk assistants. Loyola also kept their resident assistants in the dark, putting them in a situation that had residents panicking, asking them what to do with zero instructions from Loyola. Many RAs like Ashiya Tripline ’26 used their best judgment and told their residents to stay away from the area, but any misstep could land them in hot water with their bosses.

“My district coordinator sent us a message saying ‘If you are communicating with residents, do not tell them to shelter in place, that is not guidance given by the university. We have received reports that RAs are telling residents that we are in lockdown or shelter-in-place, but that’s not accurate and I don’t want anyone to get in trouble for providing incorrect information. Tell them to use their best judgment and any official word will come from the university.” Then she Q: ‘Can you send you a screenshot of the message that was sent to the residents last night?’ They made us have a mandatory meeting about this,” Triplain said.

Text notifications from Loyola

After what felt like an eternity to many, Loyola finally updated students on what happened at 11:52 p.m., and Emily Pickul, 26, felt the same way.

“I feel like Loyola’s response was too late. We should have been notified immediately and told to stay indoors. I shouldn’t have found out about this from my mom calling to see if I was okay,” Pikul said.

To better understand what went wrong with Public Safety’s response that night, I reached out to Director of Public Safety Adrian Black with questions I had gathered on campus. The first thing I asked was when Loyola became aware of the situation and the reason for the delay in responding.

“We were made aware of this situation when the Baltimore City Police Department initially responded. As we look back on the events of that night, we know that if an external incident was impacting our internal community, there were ways we could respond more quickly Improve communications and get information out to the community. “We are conducting a comprehensive post-incident review to identify improvements,” he said.

Admitting a mistake is a great first step, and there is hope that public safety recognizes that the failure that night was unacceptable. While acknowledging these mistakes, there is zero explanation as to why even though they knew this was happening and causing panic on campus, they did not give dispatchers a clue and prompt them to notify us about it. There is no satisfactory answer to this, which is very disappointing. When I asked dispatchers about their behavior in ignoring students like Grace and whether they thought these behaviors were acceptable when students are fearful, Black’s response was again not entirely satisfying.

“We strive to provide the best service to all members of our community. This situation is extremely distressing for the students and certainly for the families who are following this situation in the news. We know that from what happened at Morgan State University The time between the incident and notification to our students caused considerable stress for some of our students and parents, and we deeply apologize for that,” Black said.

While an apology definitely goes a long way and is necessary in this situation, it should probably be emailed to the parents to apologize directly to them. The dispatcher’s response was unresolved. Many people, myself included, are faced with a burning question: If Loyola can’t do something so simple from two miles away, how will they be prepared to handle a situation on campus?

“Loyola has a crisis communications plan, which we review and update regularly to ensure we are following best practices and prepared to respond to emergencies that impact our community. If the Loyola campus faces an imminent or ongoing threat, we are prepared Send a Greyhound Alert to the community,” Black said.

He also noted that emergency response teams are regularly trained to best handle these situations, which is reassuring. At the same time, the entire situation was distressing to many, and Loyola’s actions at the time were not helping students. For some, this has even heightened concerns about their safety. Loyola needed to send the notice as soon as it became known — no later than when news stations began reporting on the story — because the shooter was reportedly still at large. Without Loyola’s assurance, students can’t be sure they are safe. While they promise improvements and admit mistakes, these are just words. These “reviews” need to have substantive results that confirm the role of public safety in keeping students physically safe.

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