Opinion | UCCS neglects student’s needs by rushing us back to campus

On Feb. 16, I woke up to multiple texts and emails about a lockdown and shelter on campus with a potential shooter. I immediately messaged one of my friends that lives in Crestone to make sure she was okay.   

I started getting message after message from friends and family checking on me, but I was too anxious about what had happened that I didn’t even want to respond.  

Following the alerts, UCCS closed the campus for the remainder of the day through Monday, Feb. 19. Before reports were made public disclosing that the suspect had been in custody, UCCS initiated the “Day of Healing” and “Solidarity Walk” for students to show support and focus on their well-being.  

I was so invested in finding out what had happened and trying to get details over that weekend that I didn’t take the time to process everything and determine what I needed. It didn’t hit me until early Monday morning that I had to come back to campus and act like we didn’t just experience three deaths in a week.  

I was out of focus for most of the week coming back, as I’m sure many students were. I used to live in Crestone the year prior and I could only imagine the fear of my family and friends if I still lived there.  

Our campus should have cancelled classes, events and other activities for the remainder of the week. We continued day after day, receiving little to no information updating us about the events that happened. It could’ve happened again, for all we knew.  

The school sent multiple messages assuring us there was no longer a threat to UCCS, but how are we supposed to believe we are safe if we have no new information? Of course, we understand the investigators wouldn’t intentionally put us in harm’s way, but it’s the trauma and anxiety we feel from receiving those messages that make us question our safety and the motives of the university.  

Additionally, AllinaHealth says that the process of grieving can take weeks, months, or even years. It takes more than a few days, and that’s all we were given.  

If you can close campus for one day of the week, you can close campus for the whole week. Let the students seek help, be with family and other friends and grieve. Close the campus until all information is disclosed to the public and the suspect is in custody with no other ongoing investigations regarding the case.  

We needed time to process what our campus had gone through. We needed time to be with our families and decompress. We needed time to heal. We were deprived of that.

Crowd at the conclusion of the Solidarity Walk. Photo by Lillian Davis.