Delayed reaction raises concern

Jackie Stanus

On Wednesday I woke up at 6:45 a.m. by an unexpected phone call from my mom. She sounded nervous and said, “There is a shooter on the loose at Villanova.”

When I heard this, I was in utter disbelief because after all, Villanova has always been a fairly safe campus. Despite my skepticism, I turned on the news to find that my mom’s accusations were, in fact, true.

Around 7:30 a.m. I darted to my computer to check my e-mail because I figured that the Department of Public Safety would be prompt to report a newsbreak such as this one. This was not the case. All I received was a bank statement and a Facebook invite to a Christmas party (thank you, by the way).

Waiting another fifteen minutes, I thought surely there would be an alert of some kind on the Villanova website. In anticipation of finding classes cancelled, I came across a whole lot of nothing. So, as a dedicated student, I elected to go to my 8:30 class.

On my way to class, my normal routine is to take a detour to Connelly Center to pick up a cup of coffee and a bagel at Holy Grounds. However, this time on my walk from West campus, my eardrums were plagued by the loud propellers of three hovering helicopters. It was then that I knew things were serious.

Accordingly, I picked up the pace and arrived to Connelly at 8:10 a.m. where I met up with a commuter student who is in my 8:30 Spanish class. She said that she called the Public Safety office before she left for her 40-minute drive to school, and they neglected to give her useful information about the situation. All they told her to do was “proceed to classes as normal.” Of course, once she arrived at Villanova, she saw the mass of cop cars and was skeptical about walking all the way to Tolentine from Main lot. Instead, she walked to Connelly and met up with me.

She and I decided to do some investigation of our own and went to the NBC news Web site to find that South campus was on lockdown. Thanks to NBC news, we decided it wasn’t in our best interest to trek over to Tolentine. After getting breakfast, we checked our e-mail again to find no new messages or updates on the Web site.

I realize that Public Safety was working with the Radnor police on this situation, but they failed to inform students about the incident. Public Safety never fails, however, at booting our cars or administering parking tickets.

At 8:50 a.m., I finally received word (from my own initiative to call Public Safety) that classes would resume at 10:30. Interestingly enough, it was not until 9:15 that a “News Update” was finally posted on the Villanova Web site telling students that classes would be delayed two hours. But the icing on the cake was when I received an email at 11:08 saying that the 10:30 classes would be cancelled.

Classes start at 8:30. Students leave their rooms before that time. The thing that I don’t understand is that school cancellations due to snow are always reported well before class starts.

When students’ safety could have been jeopardized because of a gunman in the area, where was the speedy warning?