My Take on the Whitehall Classroom Threat

As I stand monitoring the door at the Jack Harlow concert for the University of Kentucky’s Student Activities Board, I see over 500 smiling faces singing and dancing to their favorite songs. Stepping back from this moment, I see how different this day could’ve been if the events on Thursday actually happened. 

 

On Wednesday, Nov. 7 around 8 p.m., students were alerted that there were violent threats made by someone to ensue harm on students in Whitehall Classroom Building, a hub for students of all levels to attend class that next day. Students were assured by UK that law enforcement and the FBI were doing everything they could do to find the suspect and get them into custody.

 

As more students were learning of the news, fear continued to grow of what could happen next.

 

Speaking as a student who would’ve been in that very building on Thursday, I honestly saw my life flash before my eyes. I realized, more than ever, there are a lot of ways situations like this could be handled better. However, there were a few things that completely changed my perspective of the school I attended.

 

A huge part of the whole threat that rubbed me completely the wrong way was the fact my parents were never alerted. As being seen in the eyes of the law as an adult, I feel I’m far from it.

 

I’m in contact with my parents about four times a week and that will never change. Calling my grandmother and hearing the fear in her voice is something I never wanted to experience. UK’s administration should have alerted all of our parents.

 

I can’t even imagine the fear freshmen students experienced, especially most of them being in their first months of being on their own. When I was told of the news about the threat, I instantly sent my Media Arts & Studies professor the screenshots of the threats posted to social media and let him know my anxiety with attending class.

 

Three minutes later, he was in instant communication with my class that he understood and would cancel class. Another professor of mine let us know she would not penalize us for being anxious about attending class.

 

However, to get to my point, as for a professor, this isn’t the time to tell me that I let the suspect “win” and ensue fear into my life and shake up business as usual on campus. As an adult, I made the decision that I didn’t feel comfortable and decided not to go.

 

As for my professor, while it is your job to teach me, it isn’t your time to give your opinion about any anxiety I’m feeling. In the times we’re in now, it isn’t shocking that most students believed the threat, me myself believing them as well. As a professor, support your students and offer any words of encouragement and a listening ear during times of chaos, anxiousness and anger. This goes out to anyone. Please do not tell me that I should have empathy for anyone who promised to fulfill a violent act against me or anyone. The worst thing you can do is try to give people advice about how they should feel after their life was at risk.

 

I’m a very caring person who sees the best in mostly everything. However, anyone who even threatens my life in any way loses any support or empathy I ever could have felt for them. When trying to support anyone in traumatic or near-traumatic moments, give them time to be angry and let them know it’s a valid feeling. To put in a disclaimer, I can only speak from my feelings and opinions I had those 24 hours and still do have. I can’t even imagine violence happening on my campus and I’m understanding of anyone who has ever experienced first hand a school shooting, bomb threat or any act of violence.

 

As a society, more needs to be done when threats like this are made. I’ve seen too many times in the past few years where all the signs of a school shooting, bombing, etc. were there, but people continued to ignore them. Let’s stop trying to react after people lose their loved ones.

 

Take these moments to make a change.