Students question university’s response to shooting

By JAYCIE DOERR, News3 Executive Producer & WC Editor-in-Chief

MACOMB, Illinois (News3 & WC) – On March 25, a shooting in Macomb killed one and injured ten. Six of those injured were Western Illinois University (WIU) students. Since then, some have said the university has not done enough to support, but WIU says a lot has been happening behind the scenes.

One WIU student, Nevaeh, said, “I feel like they should have done a better job at contacting everyone about it and making sure that everybody, college students, were safe and sound because a lot of them were injured.”

WIU released itsfirst statement to the campus community about two hours after the shooting.

WIU did not know the nature of the shooting the morning of March 25 and increased patrol on campus. Smith said that when students woke up and heard about the shooting, they needed to feel safe. 

Still, students say WIU did not do enough to communicate. 

“I really had to ask a friend to know more about it,” Abedi, a WIU student, said. 

John Smith, the Interim Vice President for Student Success, said that he went to the hospital directly following the incident. When he arrived on campus, he relied on the same response protocols WIU had used in an on-campus shooting two years ago. 

“I called our counseling center director, the student development and success center director, our emergency management person to ask them to get things set up on campus as quickly as possible in a safe environment,” Smith said.

WIU extended counseling center hours to offer students their support. 

“The counseling idea was a very good idea, cause, a lot of mental health have already been happening but with the shooting it was very traumatic and I know a lot of students were going through it. I do feel like they would have had a little more availability,” WIU student Somayyah said. 

Smith said that during Monday, March 27 classes, two students got escorted to the counseling center by campus faculty to help them process the events of the weekend.

Yet, many students do not think WIU should have had classes on that Monday. Somayyah said some professors gave lenient attendance or due dates, but it was not enough. 

“I definitely feel like more support than just a delay on assignments or an extension,” Somayyah said. “I do think the university should have canceled classes.”

Smith said that almost sixty students were directly affected by the incident, some who have been unable to return to classes or campus since the event.

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