Editorial: Now this: Return to ignorance

A campus police officer was stationed in the Engineering and Science Building lobby for the week after a reported threat was made by a former Pitt-Johnstown student.

According to reports, the threats were made to university officials, and targeted engineering technology faculty.

Although students in the Engineering and Science building saw the campus police officer, they were unclear as to why he was there, or whether the rumors they were hearing were true.

Engineering students wondered why university officials hadn’t sent out any information regarding the threats.

Campus police chief Eric Zangaglia, declining to comment on the threats, also could have Pitt-Johnstown community members questioning why they are, once again, not being informed and what reason there could possibly be to decline giving necessary information.

Campus community members may feel slightly betrayed by university officials after hearing of threats and relying, once again, on rumor and conjecture as to what, exactly, is going on.

We’ve been through this before. When a shooter fired a shotgun shell into a Richland Township police car Sept. 13, campus students, faculty and staff weren’t informed of the incident for nine hours.

Campus President Jem Spectar apologized for that failure to communicate at a Sept. 19 faculty senate meeting. It was his fault, he said, and it appeared campus leaders had learned an important lesson on keeping the community informed.

That was followed in December with policy notices posted regarding an attempted robbery near Whalley Chapel and thefts of equipment from classrooms.

Now this.

Informing the community, even if only through an Advocate reporter, deputizes thousands who can become vigilant and assist police with what they see and hear. Failing to communicate precludes the use of this significant, and, perhaps, essential resource.

Students should be told why there needs to be a campus police officer in the Engineering and Science building lobby on a daily basis for a week, and everyone on campus should be alerted of any threat that takes place.

In addition, the failure to communicate leads to unnecessary anxiety in our community.

We call again for open communication.