Campus shootings across the U.S. cause Wilkes community to reflect on safety

With recent campus shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Northern Arizona University and Texas Southern University, college campuses everywhere are being even more vigilant at enforcing safety and security.

The tragedies raised mixed emotions for students, staff and faculty at Wilkes University.

“The whole school shooting strikes a cord. Every time this happens, I think that could have been me or my brother,” said Christine Walsh, a freshman.

Wilkes’ Public Safety continually strives to ensure students are safe and aware of their surroundings.

“The University is working on and continues to do a good job with the emergency procedures,” said Don Noble, lieutenant of Public Safety. “Wilkes has hired professional police officers that bring a great deal of training to campus.”

Junior Kellie Palko believes that the safety on campus is good. She feels that Wilkes takes it very seriously by sending out daily emails to the students.

Multiple media outlets have reported there have been 74 school shootings in the last 18 months. This averages one school shooting every five weeks in the U.S., according to CNN.

“It’s really saddening when students are just trying to go to school to get an education,” said Valerie Woods, a resident assistant and junior.

According to Gallup, in 2014, 47 percent of the public felt that the selling of firearms should be made more strict.

“I believe in rigorous background checks, but not necessarily on more gun restriction,” said Alex Faes, a freshman.

Lora Gerlach, an Aramark cashier, believes that guns do not kill people. She feels that they aren’t the problem.

People are the problem.

“There is a lot of security on campus, and there are people kids can talk to,” Gerlach said. “A lot of the workers here are mothers and fathers, so my hope is that the kids can find it in themselves to get help or come talk to us.”

Michael Reagan, the son of the late President Ronald Reagan, recently lectured on the Wilkes University campus. Discussing guns causes him to think back to the day his father was shot.

He, too, believes that guns are not the problem.

Reagan would like to see more armed guards at schools to help prevent these shootings.

“A guard without a gun is just a bystander,” he said.