Over the past few days our neighbors at Cornell University have faced some terrifying events. Many of us remained glued to Twitter for updates on how our neighboring campus was doing and if anyone was in danger or injured. On Nov. 7, Cornell University told its students to avoid Central Campus and evacuated certain areas while it waited for the SWAT team and law enforcement to investigate the bomb threats that ended up being cleared and were not credible threats. On Nov. 9, the university issued a shelter-in-place order for North Campus because local police were chasing three men, all of whom were armed, following a shots fired incident. While some students dealt with the situations using humor and through memes on social media, the majority of Cornell students were rightfully terrified and nervous. While the vagueness of the communications when the situations were developing was troubling, it seems that Cornell is taking the appropriate actions by sharing mental health resources for its students online and postponing preliminary exams. There should be more done to ensure that every student affected by the series of events is able to properly process and deal with their emotions.
Due to the close proximity of Ithaca College’s campus to Cornell University’s campus, our students were also impacted by the series of events occurring just five miles away. Ithaca College students have friends and know people at Cornell and some even attend classes on their campus. However, Ithaca College failed its own students by providing little to no reassurance or updates. The college didn’t factor in how students with trauma may have been triggered, or the way our students must’ve been afraid as well. The college went about its normal routine, and nothing besides how the students felt was affected by the events happening a few miles away. From the IC Emergency Notification System, students received a too-late, short, condescending and unhelpful alert about the college being aware of the men and the armed men trying to be located. The college sent this disrespectful alert hours after the majority of Ithaca College students were made aware of the events happening a few miles away through Twitter. The alert seemed to speak down to the students and insinuate that there was nothing to worry about. The college was late to inform its students about the danger happening nearby, which could’ve placed some Ithaca College students in danger if they had decided to visit the campus that day or take a walk around the Cornell Campus, as students frequently do causally. In the aftermath, the college has taken no action to check in on the mental health of its own students or provide any further information aside from the email it sent. As far as we know, no one was hurt and students are safe now. But that does not change that these events most likely affected many students and the college failed to check–in or help anyone.