Increased Gun Violence on College Campuses in America


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By Tiffani Stitz

After a shooting at Morgan State University on October 3, many college students around the country became increasingly concerned about their safety on campus. 

The Baltimore Police Department is on the search for the suspect(s) responsible for the October 3, shooting at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, which left five young adults, four of whom were unintentional targets aged 18-22, hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

As students at Morgan State walked back from the annual homecoming coronation ceremony of the Mister & Miss Morgan State event held at the Murphy Fine Arts Center on campus, the first gunshots were fired after a dispute at around 9:25 p.m. After the first gunshots were heard, police received calls and immediately sent alerts to the campus community.

Following “active shooter protocols,” police announced an “active shooter” on campus and conducted a thorough investigation. 75 minutes later, police posted on X that the conflict was no longer considered an “active shooter” incident. Afterwards, they lifted the four-hour lockdown initiated by the Morgan State University Campus Police. 

The Baltimore Police Department released a video of the persons of interest and has not yet found the people responsible for this shooting. It is believed by the Baltimore Police Department that there are multiple suspects responsible. There is a $9,000 reward for anyone who can identify the subjects in the video released.

This is the third year in a row that there has been a shooting during the Morgan State University homecoming week. Due to the shooting, classes for the week, and most homecoming events such as the homecoming pep rally, parade, and the Lady Bear Volleyball game have all been canceled. Additionally, the football game and homecoming gala are postponed until further notice. 

In a statement posted on the Morgan State University website by David K Wilson, the University President, he addresses the shooting that happened on campus, while also making students aware of counseling and support available for them on campus: 

“What happened on our campus was such a senseless act of violence perpetrated on our community. It was so disappointing to learn of what took place especially after what was a family-filled and fun evening of celebrating the pageantry and beauty of our students. But rest assured, our Morgan family is strong and we will march on with determination to keep moving on,” Wilson said.

On October 10, Morgan State University announced plans to build a wall around the northeast section of campus, which would extend pre-existing barriers by about 8,000 feet. This wall would block about 90% of the campus and is expected to cost $22 million.

While this shooting shook up the Morgan State University community and the Baltimore community, this has many college students around the country concerned about their safety on campus. 

Many videos were posted by Morgan State University students on platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, that went viral within seconds. Seeing these unfiltered videos being posted in real time had many college-aged students all around the country questioning their own campus safety. More importantly, however, the shooting has raised more of their awareness of the gun issues we are facing as a country. 

At the Catholic University, for example, community members have seen on and around campus this past year that crime in the DC area has greatly increased. The Catholic University Department of Safety is aware of the increased crime and gun violence in the Brookland area and on the campus itself and has implemented many programs to ensure the safety of the students according to Kirk McLean, Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Emergency Management: 

“DPS has increased officer visibility during peak hours with the bike patrol program and we have added several patrol cars to our fleet. Additional campus police officers are armed and we have recently hired a full-time program director for emergency response preparedness. These enhancements are just a few of the positive measures taken that will continue to ensure that we remain a very safe campus.”

This past September, DPS took part in National Campus Safety Month by hosting several defense classes and programs for students to learn and talk about ways to stay safe on campus. Student Government Association Secretary Kathleen Polking, a senior drama major and theology minor, explained how those classes benefited her.

“DPS shared some really helpful skills that have made me feel more confident to walk around the city, knowing that I have some ability to defend myself until help arrives,” Polking said.

DPS encourages students to use these resources to better prepare themselves for dangerous situations and has been transparent with students and parents about new programs and initiatives by making them available on both the university website and the Nest, an online portal that already offers many resources on student life. 

While dangerous scenarios can be very quick and unpredictable, McLean has a few tips he wanted to share with students about staying safe on and around campus. 

“Students can remain safer by being aware of and knowing their surroundings, walking with others, and by paying attention to their instincts. If something suspicious is noticed on campus, we ask that they avoid the situation and immediately report the observations to DPS. Furthermore, DPS offers safety training on various topics, escorts, and other services and programs to reinforce how to remain safe and protected,” said McLean. 

DPS, as they have said, is aware of the increased crime and danger on and around campus and is doing all that it can to adapt to and address these safety concerns. 

The Morgan State University shooting serves as both a tragedy and a wake-up call to universities around the country. Catholic University is one campus that is taking steps to ensure the safety of all its members in a city with ever-increasing crime.

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