Notice judgment needs honing

Four Pitt-Johnstown students reportedly were assaulted at approximately 3 a.m. Oct. 1.

An email about the incident was sent out to all students on behalf of the Pitt-Johnstown’s Campus Police Chief Eric Zangaglia and Vice President for Student Affairs Shawn Brooks.

The apparent seriousness of the assault continued to grow when police officers hung fliers at entranceways to campus buildings regarding an investigation and indicating a possible threatening situation for Pitt-Johnstown community members.

It is beneficial that Pitt-Johnstown officials want their students to be informed of possible threats. However, the fliers and emails seem a bit much for what appeared to be a relatively minor incident.

Bringing attention to an issue that is just a minor report can deteriorate one’s credibility. It’s similar to the story of the little boy who cried wolf.

Because of Brooks’ orders to hang the fliers for this specific incident, one may be more skeptical on believing how serious a future notification might be.

Such was not the case in an incident at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 13, 2012. A shooting occurred at the Richland Municipal Building within hundreds of feet of campus.

Campus officials did not inform community members about the shooting until the end of the day nearly 11 hours later.

Now, Brooks may be trying to overcompensate with all the fliers and student emails. The overcompensation could come across to others as overreacting.

A Richland Township detective has had problems piecing the incident together as the four apparent Pitt-Johnstown women victims were too intoxicated to provide coherent accounts.

The alleged attackers, who may or may not have been Pitt-Johnstown students, have not been identified.

But this much seems clear: the assaults involved no weapons, and no apparent serious injuries and, most importantly, no continuing threat to community members that required notifications.

A 3 a.m., after-closing, parking lot fight does not rise to a level requiring community-wide notification.

The issue was not as serious as the fliers and email made it out to be.

University officials should be more cautious as to what messages they are trying to portray concerning threat-level toward the community.

There is no reason to overcompensate or overreact to a simple bar fight. Perhaps this was an attempt to make up for mistakes from the past, but these actions were steps in the right direction.