The tragic loss of life that took place on campus on April 10 has stirred up a lot of emotion and confusion. It seems that students don’t know whether to be fearful, sad or confused. Those responsible for the CatNet alert messages did not do an effective job at keeping students informed and updated about the tragedy and we feel that the messages could have been conveyed with more sensitivity.
One way the situation could have been dealt with better would have been if emails were sent out to students earlier than 10:45 a.m. It was stated in an email that the body was discovered at 8:45 a.m. and it was not clear how the body came to be in the state that it was at that time. There could have been a murderer on campus and students would have been informed too late.
Another way the incident could have been dealt with differently would have been to block more of the body off so that it would be out of sight. When students went to Dillin Hall for brunch on Sunday morning they were not expecting to see a body in front of Walker Hall. The sight of a dead body can be traumatizing and it was inappropriate to have it present in front of unsuspecting students.
We understand that an investigation was taking place, but that is not an excuse for the lack of some sort of barrier around the bench where the body was discovered.
We also think that the alerts could have been written with more sensitivity. For example, it was stated that the person was not related to Linfield so the campus could return to normal. However, there is nothing “normal” about what happened.
A human life ended in our community and no one seems to have definite answers as to why or how. This person had a life and family. Just because they do not attend Linfield does not make the situation insignificant, as the email made it seem. It looks as though the alerts were strictly intended to work as damage control.
We understand that this is a difficult issue, but we hope that the college will act with more compassion and understanding if another tragedy occurs in the future.
-The Review Editorial Board