Editorial: Lacking info arouses concern

Moments after what could have been a deadly shooting at the Richland Township Police Station, Sept. 13, two neighboring schools locked their doors to ensure the safety of those inside.

Meanwhile, Pitt-Johnstown students were free to roam uninformed about the incident that had taken place within sight of the campus.

Though Pitt-Johnstown administrators sent out an e-mail two hours after the incident explaining that a portion of Schoolhouse Road would be closed, they failed to mention the reason – the shooting.

A road closing is often associated with roadwork or a traffic accident, and it is safe to assume that many students may have gotten the wrong impression as to why the road was closed.

Students should have been immediately made aware of the incident and assured that there was no safety breach.

It wasn’t until 9:14 p.m., nearly 11 hours after the shooting, that an administrator sent an e-mail informing students that a shooting had taken place and that they had not been in danger.

However, those living in the College Park Apartments, Bloomfield Apartments and others who live close enough to campus to commute by foot could have been in close proximity to the shooting scene.

As Pitt-Johnstown students slowly found out about the incident from other sources, the lack of information provided by administrators and an unwillingness to communicate may have left many students and their off-campus family and friends concerned about their safety.

One administrator said students had no reason to worry because campus police were in direct contact with Richland Township police, but students were not aware of the interaction between police.

As a result, many students and those connected to them may have been concerned for their safety as they patiently waited for news on the shooting. Students had a right to know what was happening just yards away – and as soon as possible.

The lack of information provided may say something about how our leaders view their role to be accountable to the community.

Pitt-Johnstown students had a right to know what was happening.

If administrators failed to inform students about a seemingly important issue, it may be safe to assume that they do not see a similar shared-information role on too many topics.

President Jem Spectar admitted as much at the Faculty Senate meeting last Wednesday.

Spectar admitted that University administrators had made an error in not informing the community, and promised that information would be shared if another such incident should take place.