Moving forward from tragedy
It has been two months.
The shock has worn off and media coverage has slowed, but the tragedy of the Oregon District mass shooting left behind long lists of questions for community members, including those of the University of Dayton.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, more than a hundred students gathered in the Kennedy Union ballroom for a forum and panel discussion titled Tough Talks: Gun Violence.
Hosted by the Student Government Association, the event featured Christine Schramm, dean of students; Dr. Chantelle Pseekos, director of the Counseling Center; University Police Chief Rodney Chatman; and Dayton Police Lt. Randy Beane as panelists. Each question asked was generated by SGA from social media and interactions with people on campus.
Topics covered were mental health, campus safety and student involvement.
Pseekos addressed mental health effects that could be experienced by students, including psychological reactions to trauma such as post traumatic stress disorder or depression. She encouraged students to confide in health care professionals at the counseling center or health center, or to talk to resident assistants, campus ministers or friends if they are experiencing emotional discomfort.
“We want to be mindful of those around us” Pseekos said. “We know that being connected, being a part of a community matters, so whether it’s someone who’s considering an act of violence or someone who just needs extra support, we really want to be good allies, good friends, good peers to one another.”
Both Schramm and Chatman assured that campus safety measures have always been in place, and they are continuing to evolve.
“[For] so many, this is a reality that has been a part of your life — from Columbine to now, of course, as we talk about our local tragedy,” Schramm said. “But I can assure, we’ve always had a policy in place about weapons on campus, about assuring your safety and your security — it’s always been there. But now, it’s so much more a part of our reality.”
Chatman discussed the initiatives UD Police are utilizing — visibility, engagement and training. Officers have been more prevalent around campus since the shooting downtown to provide security and be accessible if any concerns arise. In doing this, he said, campus public safety also hopes to hear suggestions from students.
The final message was that students, staff and faculty should continue what Flyers do best — look out for one another.
In honor of the official two-month anniversary of the shooting, the UD community will be hosting a Gun Violence Rally on from 3 to 5 p.m. October 4 at the Kennedy Union fountain on Central Mall.