On Sunday, April 15 I was sitting in my common room with three of my suitemates watching a movie on our neighbor’s projector.
It had been unnaturally warm that weekend so we had our windows open still. Suddenly, we started hearing multiple police car sirens. As our building is on a road often used by emergency responders, we did not think anything of it. However, the sirens kept coming as an ambulance sped by.
We started getting texts from our multiple group chats: someone had been stabbed in Windham, the building right next to mine at the top of the hill.
We could see a multitude of police cars in the parking lot before one gave the ambulance a police escort. Our various group chats were going off, trying to figure out what had happened and who had did it. We sat in confusion and fear for forty-one minutes before our university sent out an alert; that there had been a stabbing and yes, the suspect was still at large.
The rumors were swirling and it was terrifying.
The stabber had gotten into Windham, which meant that he could get into any Mountainview building...including mine. Our student resident told us to stay inside and lock the doors. Not the police. Our campus was still open for people to roam, to leave, and enter buildings. The rumors speculated that the culprit had run into the library. My friends were there, terrified. They barricaded themselves inside out of fear for their own lives. Another one of my friends called the police non-emergency line asking if it was safe to walk back to her dorm. For those unfamiliar, Binghamton has a medium-sized campus in which the farthest residence takes about 25 minutes to walk to. The police officer did not assure her it was safe, nor tell her that she should stay inside. Instead, she was told to use “her own discretion.”
The university assured everyone the next day at the 5 PM press conference that everyone had been safe because they had assumed the attack was targeted. They had no way of knowing this claim was 100% accurate. A man had stabbed another and was roaming around campus until the next day. Where does one draw the line after killing someone? You cannot say anything for certain. The way the university failed to keep the student alert while a murderer was on campus was atrocious.
I do not know how the university will help to protect students in the future so that we can live comfortably in our dorms. I do know, though, that if such a tragedy were to happen again, we, as residents of this campus, should have a right to be alerted of our surroundings. We should be safe in our dorms, to walk on our campus, to study in the library. There needs to be some sort of revision by Binghamton University immediately.
Regardless of how the university reacted, we still lost a student to an act of violence. It was an unbelievable tragedy, and I send my deepest condolences to Joao Souza’s friends and family. May he rest in peace.
For a timeline of the events, the New York Times wrote a more coherent article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/nyregion/bingha...