2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Students deserve updated information

By Cristina Paolozzi, September 24 2019—

The MacEwan Student Centre is one of the busiest places on campus by far. It’s the heart of the University of Calgary’s campus and a meeting place for many students, faculty and staff. One of the most crowded places on campus as well, this is especially true during the first month of school, especially for clubs week — an opportunity where new and returning undergraduates alike can find clubs on campus to join and  deepen their experience within the campus community. It must have also been surprising to notice an unusual police presence surrounding the flurry of clubs week, as an apparent threat was being investigated regarding a potential shooter on campus. While the situation was non-threatening, it did result in concern and confusion among the individuals passing by. Taking to social media, many members of the campus community expressed their concern regarding the lack of information pertaining to the safety and security of a potentially dangerous issue. Different news outlets had already published accounts of the incident sporadically throughout the day, while campus security as well as the university itself did not address the details of the incident until later that afternoon.

While social media has become a great tool to use when getting in contact with others and obtaining first-hand perspectives regarding special events or breaking stories, it is troubling to know that the community who had seen a possible serious encounter with a heavy police presence casually roaming the busiest place on campus, needed to find their answers from news outlets or other community members on Twitter. There are real threats that are waged against public places like universities frequently that it is inherently careless as an institution to leave your patrons with less information than the local news. It is important and necessary to have updated and accurate information regarding threat control whether the threat is serious or not. The university also has an emergency app, which is supposed to provide information to be dispersed quickly and efficiently to members of the campus community — had it been used effectively, this would have been a great opportunity to address a dangerous circumstance and avoid speculation from individuals through social media. Confusion regarding some students being in a state of lockdown in certain buildings, others walking right past armed police officers, students who weren’t at school and wondering what was happening to their friends or colleagues who were on campus or just the average person checking in on social media in the morning all deserve the same information without the echo chamber of miscommunication and speculation.

Other community members could be seen updating individuals on the same threads as official statements from Calgary Police Services or the university, because no other information was being distributed at the time. It was chaotic, confusing and certainly not what anyone was expecting walking through campus on a Monday morning.    

The questions and conversations circling the web directed at Calgary Police Services and the University of Calgary were aimed in order to obtain clarification and omit uncertainty. Screenshots taken of the blank message board on the UCalgary emergency app seemed to be the overall mood of the community — living in a time of constant access to information, when a threat has been identified in any capacity, there should be accurate and detailed communication.      

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet