One Day, Students Mourned-The Next They Feared For Their Lives

Panelists at FIU Gun violence teach-in. Jesse Fraga/PantherNOW

Victor Jorges, Valentina Palm and Jesse Fraga/PantherNOW Staff

On the second day of the semester, Isabel Alzate attended a vigil honoring the victims of recent mass shootings. On the third, she felt threatened by the warning of a potential shooter on campus.

For Alzate, an International Relations senior, the first week of class was usually uneventful beyond buying her new textbooks and finding parking.

“This week has been a mixture of feelings,” said Alzate, who attended the vigil, and was alerted of a possible shooter on campus, all within 24 hours.

The vigil was held on Tuesday Aug. 10. in memory of the victims of shootings that took place in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso,Texas earlier this summer. 

Professors, psychologists and police officers discussed how to prevent and handle gun violence in a panel. 

“No matter your relation to these events, we are all individually affected in some way,” said University President Mark B. Rosenberg at the vigil.

The next day, PantherNOW reported a shooting threat on the Modesto Maidique Campus, in the Graham Center, the school’s most crowded building.

The threat was sent through a class Whatsapp group chat. The message said “Wanna meet tomorrow in GC buddy? I can walk into class with this energy if you keep pissing me off you coward little kid.” 

A photo of an assault rifle was attached to the  message. 

According to a Tweet by University police the same day, there was no reason to believe that the threat was imminent, but the investigation was underway.

The message also said FIUPD had “implemented a plan to ensure the safety of our FIU community” however, they failed to explain what the plan actually was.

Despite feeling anxious because of FIUPD’s lack of updates regarding the shooter, Alzarte says she feels safe on campus, but she understands this issue is bigger.

“I think these events have to be better communicated to students, but, I do feel safe in school because there is always someone watching,” said Alzate. “More and more this is happening and I think it is another example of how our gun laws aren’t working.”

 

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