During the 17-hour standoff on Sunday, Oct. 13, where an armed student was barricaded in his home and a SWAT team descended upon a North Willington block, the only information being widely released by Temple Police – per its Twitter – was how students could become involved in that day’s Zombie Run at the Bell Tower.
The Temple community waited to hear updated information regarding the standoff, but little information was disclosed by the university. A TU Advisory was issued at 10:04 a.m., noting increased police activity on the block and asking students to avoid the area. A TU Advisory issued at 7:01 p.m. failed to update students with any useful information.
A TU Advisory issued at 6:08 a.m. Monday morning was laughably non-descript and remarkably unhelpful. The situation had been resolved for four hours.
There were no other TU Advisories released and Temple issued no further information on its Twitter account.
In light of the suspect’s history of mental illness, the university should have used the TU Advisory to remind students of the resources available through Tuttleman Counseling Services. Students seeking help should call 215-204-7276.
The Temple News did its best to inform the Temple community, despite false reports that the student killed himself Sunday morning from The Inquirer and Metro Philly. Both later retracted their reports.
In a situation where there are conflicting reports, it’s more important than ever that the university keeps the community updated with accurate information – especially when students are ordered by police to stay inside on the upper-level floors of their homes.
Some residents of the affected blocks were not permitted back into their homes before the situation was resolved at 2 a.m., leaving many to scramble for overnight housing arrangements.
The university kept the Student Center open past regular hours for displaced students, however those in need were not properly notified. There was no TU Advisory or statement from the university to inform students of such accommodations.
TU Ready is useful tool and a helpful asset in emergencies where the student body needs to be reached quickly. However, what good is it if it isn’t utilized?
While I agree that TU Ready was not maximized as a useful tool for this particular situation, I believe it generally serves its purpose. What people seem to forget is that this alleged “standoff” (why a suicide ideation/attempt was considered a standoff is beyond me) is none of the general populations business. TU Ready informed the general population to avoid the area — the reason why is quite frankly none of our concern. To suggest otherwise seems quite nosy. Granted, I think that TU police should have communicated better with those directly impacted by the situation (i.e. residents on Willington), but to think that the general population is entitled to be kept in the loop on someone’s private affairs is asinine.
In my opinion, TU Ready kept its users safe while still safeguarding the privacy of the person involved…TU Police could have provided a brief statement and list of services to those living in close proximity of the event, but otherwise there is no reason to bring attention to something that doesn’t warrant attention.