Opinion: We must stand strong and push WMU to do better

Western Herald – opinion
The mass shootings on Feb. 20 that left 6 dead and 2 wounded in Kalamazoo shocked our community. It showed us that tragedy can  happen anywhere, even the small city we call home. Over the past week, we’ve come together as a university to mourn, and express our frustration with the university leadership’s communication during the shooting.
During the town hall meeting on campus last Monday, many said the same thing: they are angry that Western Michigan University did not send a text alert about the shootings, and that there should be text alerts for crimes in the areas surrounding campus that could threaten students. Some students offered ideas for possible solutions, while others said they no longer felt safe on campus.
The current policy regarding WMU Alerts must be revised. WMU Public Safety Chief Scott Merlo said during the town hall meeting that the alert system is used for crimes that occur on campus, and if they included crimes that happened near campus, they would have to make judgment calls on what to report, since not every crime that happens near campus is a threat to students.
One thing is clear: wherever WMU Public Safety decides to draw the line on what constitutes a threat to students, the situation on Saturday should have warranted an alert. There was a mass shooter killing people in multiple places in and around Kalamazoo. The second shooting at Seelye Kia on Stadium Drive, was on a route between the Main and Parkview campuses. As soon as WMU Public Safety learned from other police agencies that the shootings were connected, they should have sent a text alert to the campus community.
Though WMU did not do everything it could have on Saturday to protect its students, we can not let fear rule our lives. Many students, especially freshmen, are away from home for the first …

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