In the Aftermath

In the Aftermath

Opinion - Elyse Yang May 29Here at the UCSD Guardian, the tragedies of the last two weeks have been difficult for us to both experience and cover. Our community is still reeling from the loss of two members of our own campus, and the disturbing events of the massacre at Isla Vista leave us with even more unanswerable questions. With so many colleagues, friends and family mourning, recovering and suffering, it is important to support UCSB, the UC system and one another as UCSD students.

We’re not interested in using the Isla Vista tragedy as a soap box for speaking on gun control, mental illness or even misogyny, but students need to critically analyze the shooting and see how our university and the UC system can learn from it.

In light of the recent deaths within our own campus, UCSD students pulled together to mourn both a lost student and a professor and have even helped the family who lost a son pay for funeral services. On Monday, hundreds of students participated in a vigil outside of Geisel Library to commemorate the UCSB victims, UCSD student Ricky Ambriz and UCSD professor Anouchka Mihaylova. While it is clear that students care about supporting one another, standing in solidarity in light of tragedy is only the first step.

We need to actively support one another through this difficult time but also be an active community even after everyone has grieved. We can’t wait around crossing our fingers and hoping that another massacre won’t occur; things will have to change. As a university, we need to become more prepared and educated on what to do in case of another emergency. And as students, we need to understand our responsibility to be aware of our campus resources and to watch out for one another even after the initial shock wave from Isla Vista starts to fade.

The Isla Vista shooting was frightening and disturbing, but it showed us that our universities might be more vulnerable to attack and unprepared for emergencies than we would have thought. With a campus designed as disjointedly as UCSD, improving intracampus communication should now become a top priority. Currently, our only method of communication is ridiculously slow, ineffective and inconvenient; in case of an emergency or crisis, we need a method that will spread messages to students rapidly and reliably.

Students must also start to take the initiative to avoid potentially dangerous situations. “See something, say something” is an easy phrase to throw around, but it is pertinent and critical for any situation in which a student’s life could potentially be at risk. We don’t expect students to suddenly change their majors to psychology to better understand the complexities of their peers’ minds, but it is fair to ask students to look out for their friends. Students should be able to point their friends in the direction of help when they are concerned, and to notify campus resources when a situation seems unsafe or when the health of a friend appears jeopardized.

In regard to the Isla Vista case, it is unclear whether the shooter’s peers had reported the actions and the nature of their colleague. Released investigation files report that one of the suspect’s roommates had indicated some problems to his parents, but it remains unclear as to whether any concerns had been raised with authorities. And while the shooter’s family had been suspicious of the shooter’s videos, even reporting their son to the police, the investigation was put to rest after one cursory police visit to his apartment. We’re unsure if multiple student reports could have pushed the case for further investigation by the university or the police, but we can only wish it did.

UCSB is only hours away from La Jolla, and it hits particularly close to home that many students were killed and put at risk by a member of their own community. There are many ways to address these recent events, but the most important thing that can come from this is actual change. All too often, awful events have riveted and shocked millions of people only to be forgotten. We cannot wait for greater tragedies to occur in our own neighborhoods, communities and campus before taking action.

 

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    Orville KingMay 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Very nice article.

    Thank you

    Reply