Students left in dark after stabbing

By Jillian Smith
October 25, 2007

At 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, I had just gotten home from visiting with my cousins. I was home in New Jersey for the night and jumped online to talk to some of my friends from Cabrini to see what they had done for the night.

I was on my instant messenger when I noticed away messages saying things like “oh Cabrini” and “here we go again.” I knew immediately something was wrong. I quickly IMed a few friends and within minutes learned there had been a stabbing on campus.

My first reaction was to call my roommates, who were still on campus, to see what they had heard.

My one roommate heard nothing. The other one was sound asleep. If not for me, they would not have heard anything until the morning.

How ridiculous is that? That someone off-campus had to inform someone on-campus of an incident that occurred on-campus?

On Public Safety’s Web site it reads, “In situations that could pose an immediate threat to the community and individuals, Public Safety will post Safety Alerts in each residence hall, the Dining Hall, Widener Campus Center and academic spaces, as well as an e-mail to students, staff, and faculty. Alerts will also be posted on the Public Safety website on the Safety Alert page.”

There were no alerts put up in the residence halls. There were no alerts to students who were still on-campus. The only thing Public Safety did do to stick to their word was by sending an e-mail out five hours later at 5:28 a.m. What good is an e-mail five hours later?

The stabbing is reported to have taken place around 12:40 a.m. Why weren’t students notified within the hour of the incident?

Also, the president and other campus officials sent out campus-wide e-mails praising and commending the swiftness of the Public Safety officers at the scene and putting the whole campus on lock down.

Yes, Public Safety did a great job for that one student in need and in trying to find the assailant. However, there were still 1,000 other students on-campus who did not know anything.

Why weren’t the other students informed that a stabber was loose on-campus? Thank God it wasn’t a gunman.

Students are more shocked about the lack of response from Public Safety than they are about the whole stabbing itself. Along with myself, they feel they should have known sooner and been informed on how to handle the situation instead of sitting in their rooms, not knowing what was really going on campus, twiddling their thumbs.

A few weeks ago, the Loquitur put out an issue about campus safety and how Cabrini is devising an emergency response plan so that if something on-campus were to happen, they would know how to handle it. Well, where was this so-called “emergency response plan”? Why didn’t anything go into effect?

I feel that Public Safety, as a whole, did a terrible job in protecting and informing the student body.

For almost four hours, while the campus was on lock down, the suspect, as far as anyone knows, could have still been on-campus. Students should have been informed to stay in their rooms, to lock their doors and to make sure their windows were locked.

Instead, students were either left to sleep or left clueless. Way to go campus alert system.

Okay Cabrini. A stabbing occurred. A crisis happened on campus and yet, students were left unaware. Last time I checked, an e-mail five hours later really isn’t going to save anyone. I hope this incident sets a real “emergency response plan” into motion.

Jillian Smith

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